Paranoia: IntSec Character Creation and Backstory Fluff
I'll be going over mechanics and secret societies in a separate post because those're gonna have to be broken into CORE MECHANICS and INTSEC TROOPER MECHANICS. Because there is great power and responsibility coming, hoo doggy.
But with that in mind let's look at the humble life of an IntSec Trooper. IntSec Troopers are Blue Clearance citizens of Alpha Complex who managed to be promoted to Blue for actual field duty in IntSec (as opposed to sitting in an office, picking their nose with paperclips and refusing to stamp anyone's paperwork) for A: competence, B: political reasons, C: to get them killed or D: to fill an empty roster space. It's sort of like the difference between being in the Inquisition versus being an Imperial Guardsman except normally Inquisitors are good at their job.
Troopers are stationed at IntSecServe Central, a building generally left up to the GM's discretion and description but should be equal parts nuclear power plant, police station, army barracks and blue-colored maze. IntSecServe Central is the home to the Troopers and generally where you'll be receiving missions, hauling prisoners back to, being reprimanded for failure, eating and sleeping. Unlike Troubleshooters the GM should consider making a stable roster of characters with their own powers and their own allegiances to staff the bare minimum amount of departments they'll interact with on a daily basis. This is namely: The Commissioner, a Violet citizen who exists to chew your rear end up or pat you on the back, The Armory where you can get your weapons and munitions (and don't make the clerks angry, be nice), Motor Pool where you can pick up your sweet ride, Barracks where you can sleep with other people who can tamper with your stuff and the Front Desk where you can ask for directions to different places in IntSecServe Central/Alpha Complex/ask to meet the Commissioner/their assistant.
Your job as a Trooper:
Step one is the make sure you've got all your paperwork in order. Namely your MISSION STATEMENT.
Code tells you what kind of mission you're on (I'll give a listing of common codes later) and what you can expect to do. Location is which sector you'll be driving to, details are details. You might be given TEAMWORK ENHANCERS which are respectively:
The remote controlled bomb they put in your skull is live and the Security Officer Trooper in your group is holding the detonators, so don't look treasonous, just keep smiling.
The Surveillance & Forensics Officer Trooper gets to spy on one of you in the group using a chip embedded in your head. (There will be a lot of things embedded in your head; sometimes they are bullets)
The Interrogation and Thought Control Officer Trooper can flip a switch and turn on a chip embedded in your head that activates the personality and skillset of another specialist or Trooper. Downside: you get shunted to the back of your skull while they're riding along. Upside: you're probably not responsible for anything they do and there might be some residual skill knowledge floating around.
The Community Liaison Officer Trooper turns on a super secret briefing file (in a chip. Embedded in your head.) to give you more necessary knowledge for the mission. Upside: better information. Downside: temporary paralysis/sensory shutdown as its on.
You also have to monitor the SECTOR INDICES of where you're making your arrests and you have to RAISE or LOWER them to certain levels depending on a mission. Public Relations is a hell of a drug: one day you're shoving Infrareds into Confession Booths whenever they don't buy a certain flavor of Kelp Chips, another you're giving free Cold Fun to any Citizen who shakes your hand. Of course raising one index is often followed by the lowering of another, but it's all part of the dance.
You also have a minimum/maximum amount of arrests and terminations for yourself/the team you must provide by the end of the mission; they printed out those tickets for arrest/terminations and they have to be redeemed, otherwise that's a waste of paper and a lack of productivity and both are SUPER treasonous. They're not totally hard to fulfill, especially if you're going after, say, a large racket of PURGE terrorists and their stockpile of TacNukes but it means that some of them you have to take alive and some of them you have to take dead and you have to explain why you killed them/didn't kill them and oh dear I've gone crosseyed.
Woe betide the Troopers who only have to handle less people than the minimum; that means that the rest of your arrests and terminations will have to be fulfilled by harassing and accusing the general populace before the mission is complete.
You also have a Clone Budget which are free clones you can redeem when you die before you actually start losing YOUR clones. The main downside is that even a milk run can turn into a bloodbath and that number of free clones might be too low, especially because you share those clones with the other Troopers.
And the time limit is the time limit. Nothing fancy there.
For starters you need a name and a gender, so say hi to Stacy-B-KLK, model IntSec Trooper. Stacy's name is made up of: her name, her clearance (Blue) and her sector (where she was gestated and decanted, doesn't mean she has to live there anymore). NORMALLY this would include a Dash One at the end of her name (Stacy-B-KLK-1) but in IntSec you might've died a few times already, this is determined with generation.
Next up are SKILLS, divided into two broad sections, each encompassing three skills sets: ACTION (Management, Stealth and Violence) and KNOWLEDGE (Hardware, Software and Wetware). Each skill set has its own rating. You can roll 1d20 and divide by two to determine your rank in a skill set (round fractions up, if it's less than 4 it's just 4) or allocate 40 points to buy ranks but cannot have better than 10 in a skill set.
Management: Accusation, Bootlicking, Chutzpah, Con Games, Hygiene (how good you stink (and believe me, you all stink)), Interrogation (removing information with fine instruments such as a cudgel or an electrode), Intimidation (removing information/making your point with careful applications of threats, yelling and your fists), Moxie (street smarts and people reading), Oratory (making big ol' speeches to get people to do what you want) and Paperwork (always an important skill).
Stealth: Concealment, Disguise, Focused Paranoia (a nonspecific danger sense that mostly keeps you on the edge of an anxiety attack), Security Systems (cracking locks with gentle tapping/your foot), Shadowing, Sleight of Hand, Sneaking (WITH CAT-LIKE TREAD!), Surveillance (how to bug, debug, rebug, redebug, reredebug, etc.)
Violence: Agility (running, jumping, fleeing), Demolition (lock-picking with dynamite), Energy Weapons, Fine Manipulation (actual lock-picking, bomb defusal), Hand Weapons (clubbing, mostly), Macho (resisting torture, enduring things while being BUFF), Projectile Weapons, Thrown Weapons (chucking rocks, grenades, other Troopers), Trigger Finger (shooting first, asking questions never), Unarmed Combat (punches, kicks, karate-chops, noogies), Vehicular Combat (hit and runs, using mounted guns).
Hardware: Bot Ops and Maintenance (operating/fixing/manual hacking of robots), Chemical Engineering (spraying acid and making bombs), Electronic Engineering (making flashlight, detonators), Habitat Engineering (knowing how to repair/abuse Complex systems), Jet Boot Flight (how to not crash hopefully), Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering (causing meltdowns, refining uranium for bombs), Operate Heavy Machinery, Operate Power Armor (without hurting yourself), Vehicle Ops and Maintenance (also includes driving), Weapon and Armor Maintenance (a catch-all sabotage skill).
Software: Bot Programming (remote/manual brain-hacking of robots), Cryptography, Data Analysis (reading the readouts), Data Search, Financial Systems (embezzling), Hacking, Operating Systems, Vehicle Programming, Video Editing.
Wetware: Biosciences, Bioweapons (making and using), Cloning, Cyborging (installing metal parts in soft people), Forensics, Medical, Outdoor Life (knowing about Outdoors for dummies), Pharmatherapy (how to give which pills where), Psychotherapy (brainwashing), Suggestion (subconscious brainwashing).
Sounds intimidating, right? Let's see what Stacy's skillset looks like:
Management 8, Stealth 8, Violence 6, Hardware 4, Software 4, Wetware 5. Stacy's good with talking, shooting and sneaking but pretty poo poo at everything else. Now, Stacy can take UP TO SIX Common Skill Specialties, three of which can be in a single skill set. However you must also take a Weakness in that same skill set. It's a +4 to one skill at the cost of a hard 1 rating in another, so for example:
As a Trooper, Stacy gets a FREE AND MANDATORY Skill Specialty in Projectile Weapons; all Troopers are trained in using their Cone Rifles. This is a rare case where there is no Weakness. But if Stacy was to take a Specialty in Demolitions, she has to take a weakness in, say, Unarmed Combat. If you don't do anything to modify a skill, you don't have to write it down; the rating of a skill is equal to the rating of a skill set. So while all of those skills look like a lot of baggage, here's what her skills ultimately look like:
Chutzpah 12, Intimidation 1.
Surveillance 12, Shadowing 1.
Demolitions 10, Projectile Weapons 10, Unarmed Combat 1.
Roll 1d20. Did you get more or less than your Skill number? If more, well, you blew it, you failed, you're at the GM's mercy. If less, congrats, you win, you're at the GM's mercy.
This is the basic stepping stone of character building, but there's more to come.
Next time: finishing character building, more graphs and pictures, mutations, treason and more!
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 18:17 on Jan 7, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 7, 2014 17:30|
|# ¿ Sep 26, 2021 22:42|
Are you kidding, that's the best part about being in a position of authority
In theory? Absolutely. There's just the teensy problem of the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving eye of Friend Computer.
See, one of the big benefits of being an IntSec Trooper is that not everyone is constantly watching you and monitoring you (a lot are though, stay on your toes) and the cult of IntSec means that it generally handles its own on the inside; you're more likely to have to explain charges of treason to the Commissioner or some Ultraviolet you pissed off. You also generally have to deal with Friend Computer less because you're higher up the totem pole and you can delegate/press-gang citizens into doing stuff for you. But when you're outside of IntSec in the public sector...well, what's to stop that Yellow you're accusing of possession of treasonous materials from yelling for Friend Computer's help and mediation?
The answer should be "your hand clamped down over their mouth", of course. But the moment one little flag is raised against you, then comes the bribes and the explaining and the buck-passing.
|# ¿ Jan 7, 2014 18:37|
I also skipped the character creation rule that you can take Narrow Specialties which are basically a little quirky thing you can do at +6 to a skill set's rating, one for each skill set, that doesn't have to be picked at character creation. They're good for doing small things that don't matter well or for briefly pulling your bacon out of the fire, but I personally don't see a hell of a lot of a need for them (sometimes) because of Perversity. But thanks for pointing that out: Paranoia is a game about doing well but not perfect because the Critical Roll hammer swings both ways.
And while I'm here, let's finish character creation.
Character Creation Part 2
So far Stacy-B-KLK has skills and a name and not a hell of a lot else but that's about to change! She's a member of a Service Group, the different industries that keep Alpha Complex running, and Internal Security is in fact one of these groups. It's totally possible for her to not be from IntSec but on loan from another group to be used as an IntSec Trooper. The other groups are:
ARMED FORCES: the standing military of Alpha Complex that has a big interest in explosions, parading, yelling and waging war (often against themselves in war games or anyone that looks at them funny).
CENTRAL PROCESSING: the schmoes who make sure Friend Computer runs "properly" and are also responsible for all the paperwork and half of the bureaucracy in Alpha Complex.
HOUSING PRESERVATION DEVELOPMENT & MIND CONTROL: HPD&MC is responsible for giving the citizens lodging, food, entertainment and education, AKA fat, docile, stupid and happy.
PRODUCTION, LOGISTICS & COMMISSARY: the heartless bastards who make sure people get things, or more often don't. Generally responsible for the other half of the paperwork.
TECH SERVICES: responsible for construction, repair, hard work and the quality citizens of Alpha Complex have come to expect. Also generally responsible for scraping vaporized burns off walls.
POWER SERVICES: handles power and electricity and the generation of it. If there's a problem or a shortage, you're better off trying to fix it yourself, then blaming them for denying your claim and saying that you need to turn it off and back on.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT: mad, reckless, unreliable science, experiments and technology that the brave Troubleshooters often end up testing and breaking. Bestest buddies with Armed Forces and IntSec for making things go boom and for making interrogations a lot more fun.
Roll 1d20. 01-12 means you're a true-Blue IntSec agent. 13-20 means that you're from one of the other Service Sectors on loan for the time being. In the case of Stacy, she's an IntSec worker. But wait, there's more. IntSec has its own departments, as do the other Sectors when they work with IntSec.
Each assignment has a related skill attached which means that A: you can get a free +4 in one of those skills with no weakness or B: if you've already bumped up one of those skills then you can pump it up with a further +4. But what do these departments do? Good question!
Internal Affairs: IntSec handles IntSec's business. IA polices the beast, points fingers, handles accusations and investigates fellow officers and erases/terminates them if necessary. Nobody likes IA because IA is corrupt as hell and they always tend to overcharge you for your bribes. In IA, your job is to enforce the rules. And make them.
Thought Survey: You ask questions to people. Often irrelevant questions. Your job is to see how happy citizens are and see what they think. And if what they think is wrong, it's your job to arrest/shoot them.
Re-Education: The game book says it best. "Re-education broadens the mind. Sometimes it broadens it with a crowbar. Re-education makes for happier citizens, even if they do tend to drool more afterwards. Re-education changes people; living people to dead people is a common change." In Re-Education, your job is to politely correct wrong thoughts however you see fit.
Glee-Quota Adjutant: You're responsible for raising the Happiness Index in a sector, mostly with drugs, always with a smile.
Forensics Analysis: I don't want to be a bummer but people tend to hate you because you have a bunch of fancy machines that let you pull treasonous evidence out of a person's rear end just by rolling a wand on their forehead. On the plus side, you should ask for bribes like IA does.
Surveillance Operatives: You get paid to watch TV and find places to put bugs. You're also paid to sit at a small desk and hold your pee for hours at a time.
Traffic Patrol: Your job is to safeguard the lives of high-profile citizens who actually HAVE cars to drive by protecting them from the unwashed masses who want to see what their car smells like. It's like being a bodyguard except you get to ride on the hood of the car holding a bazooka.
Complaints: Your job is to be as unhelpful as possible and make the citizens dread ever asking for your help.
Goon Squad: You get to be a jackbooted thug! And oh boy what a job this is. Marching, stomping, waving your clubs and guns, yelling at people. You get to all hold shields and march menacingly towards people while scowling. What a fun life you must live, carefree without a thought in your little angry head.
Association Determination: Your job is to have a big ol' wall of string and clippings to figure out if criminals acted alone or if there's some big society conspiracy brewing and figure out how treasonous friendships are.
Threat Assessors: You assess threats. You get paid to be paranoid all day and control when you're on high alert or not and what gets nuked first.
Enhanced Interrogation & Rendition: If Re-Education is like high school then you're a college professor and you get to coerce your charges into write papers on what they know and who is responsible for it.
Confession Booth Operators: You get to read sensors and indicators as citizens pour their treasonous little hearts out in "private" sessions with Friend Computer.
Counter Dissension: You get to run Secret Societies running counter-propaganda to try and catch dissenters and terrorists. Most of the time you're in too deep undercover and believe what you're saying.
Informants Hotline: You get to take calls from concerned citizens all day and figure out what's nonsense and what's a legit problem to handle.
Reality Control: Making citizens disappear is harder than it looks; you have to destroy their possessions, make their friends know they no longer exist and destroy every inch of their existence. You're responsible for making fake people real and real people fake.
Computer Security: You protect Friend Computer's code and stop citizens/programmers from tampering with it. Most likely you're an entrapped hacker.
Compliance Directorate: You're the diplomat that makes sure this whole beast doesn't crush the entire social structure of Alpha Complex by messing up too bad with their requests and actions. Good luck.
Stacy is a THREAT ASSESSOR with a specialty in BIOWEAPONS because why destroy the standing infrastructure when you can build a super-plague or shambling goo beast to eat your enemies?
Next step: lost clones. Like I said, being a Blue takes hard work. And sometimes that hard work kills you. Thems the breaks.
Stacy rolled another 11, meaning she's actually Stacy-B-KLK-2. And Stacy-B-KLK-2 works for IntSec because she questioned the status quo and the sanity of something about Alpha Complex.
Every playable Trooper works for IntSec because of blackmail that their superiors have over them, the carrot on a stick that makes them pull the policeman's wagon. Stacy rolled a 16 meaning that someone snitched on her doubts. Oh well, poor Stacy. Because on top of being a KNOWN traitor, she's also a mutant and in a Secret Society.
Stacy rolled a 2 on her Mutant Powers table, which in theory means she's Not A Mutant. But everyone in Alpha Complex IS a mutant and Stacy just doesn't know what she is. Her GM would roll for her mutant power and whenever she tries to use it, they get to fill in whatever details they want. In actuality, Stacy is a Vampire and just doesn't know it.
What Stacy DOES know is that she's in a Secret Society. Namely, two of them. Stacy's result came up as Spy which means she works for one Society spying on another and takes the skills from her cover. Stacy is a spy for Pro Tech, a bunch of engineers and designers who like making things explode and building super machines, for the Runners, who are citizens that sabotage IntSec operations in order to try and escape Alpha Complex and not live under the oppression of Friend Computer. As a "Runner", her secret society skills are Survival 19, Sprinting 3 and Twitchtalk 8, meaning that she knows how to survive well, sucks at running and can talk using secret gestures pretty okay. Secret Skills are determined by rolling 1d20 and using the result. Her rank in her societies are half the result of 1d20, so she's a Rank 7 Pro Tech and only a Rank 2 Runner. Stacy can start the game with up to 3 IOUs she can redeem for her Secret Society; the downside is that each one means a random Secret Society can call on her in turn, determined by GM rolls on the SS chart. And because she's in a Society to begin with, she knows Propaganda skills for each of them at the rank of her roll in the Society; her Propaganda-Pro Tech skill is 7 and her Propaganda-Runner skill is 2.
Phew. That's a lot to chew on, isn't it? Let's wrap things up and I'll show you her finished sheet.
Every character has a pool of 10 Perversity Points which help you fudge the dice/hinder your "friends" (even if it's not your turn!). Your static amount is 10 with room for up to 30 for overall roleplaying and having a Tic (which is a noticeable character quirk). It's a little reward for being in character and your pool is refreshed at the start of every session.
Characters also have Access and Power which are respectively "how much pull you have in Alpha Complex" and "overall luck/Mutant Power strength" pool. They have a ceiling limit determined at generation and CAN AND WILL deplete during play as you use them. When do they regenerate? That answer is above your clearance, citizen. You aren't even supposed to know your number for them! But for the purpose of demonstration, I'll tell you Stacy's. Each stat is worth 1d20, so Stacy's Access is 4 and her Power is 10. She's a pretty good vampire, considering she doesn't know she is one! But don't expect her to succeed if she leans on a clerk and tries to play the "I know your supervisor" card to get a TacNuke.
Every Trooper starts play with a ME card with 10,000 shiny new credits on them. The ME card acts as your ID and credit card. Losing them is bad (and often inevitable). Standard Trooper equipment is X-317B full combat armor (explained more later), security helmet, jackboots with magnetic grapple and jet propulsion upgrades (explained more later), a Cone Rifle with Firepower Control attachment, a truncheon for whacking and smacking, a notepad and a nifty little Blue pen and a ME card reader so you can pull up a citizen's information at any time.
So let's take a look at Stacy's final character sheet:
Chutzpah 12, Intimidation 1.
Surveillance 12, Shadowing 1.
Demolitions 10, Projectile Weapons 10, Unarmed Combat 1.
Assignment: IntSec Threat Assessment
Mutation: Not A Mutant/Vampire
Secret Society: Runners 2 (Spy for Pro Tech 7)
Secret Skills: Propaganda-Pro Tech 7, Propaganda Runners 2, Survival 19, Sprinting 3, Twitchtalk 8
Equipment: ME Card, X-317B Power Armor, Helmet, Jackboots (magnetic/jet), Cone Rifle (with working Firepower Control), trusty truncheon, notepad, Blue pen.
Not bad for someone who made the wrong remarks to the wrong people.
Next time: game mechanics, brief overview of Trooper equipment and weapons, punishments Troopers give/receive.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 22:31 on Jan 7, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 7, 2014 22:28|
Another daycycle, another credit, citizens!
So let's talk game mechanics. They're not particularly fancy because the main emphasis of Paranoia is for the GM to play fast and loose to help keep the game flowing and help keep everyone on their toes. I'll give you the "official" rules and then show what it really looks like.
I previously mentioned that a Skill roll is just 1d20, plus or minus Perversity modifiers, and if you roll under your skill number it's a success. Tasoth mentioned that a critical success can be as dangerous as a critical hit. These rules apply to Mutant Powers and Access too. That's really the gist of it! It even applies to combat: there is no real initiative in Paranoia. What happens is that everyone makes their roles and the GM tries to figure out how everything happens at once. The players can talk about what they're going to do as the GM rolls for the NPCs, then the players make their rolls, then everything happens at once. Anyone still alive can then move around until the next round when it all begins again.
For example: Stacy is armed with a Cone Rifle, an Orange Frankenstein Destroyers is armed with a Orange Laser Pistol, a Red Communist has a can of B3 and a Yellow Anti-Mutant is armed with Slugthrower. Stacy and the Red are PCs, the Orange and Yellow are NPCs. They're all in a stand-off but a Vendbot crashes through the roof and everyone starts firing.
1: The GM decides that the Orange is going to attack the Red and the Yellow is going to attack Stacy. He rolls a success for the Orange and a failure for the Yellow.
2: Stacy decides to attack the Red, the Red decides to attack the Yellow. Stacy gets a very bad failed roll, the Red gets a critical success.
3: Everything happens at once. The Yellow's bullet whizzes past Stacy's head, throwing her aim off as she fires at the Red, causing him to stumble into the path of the Orange's laser. He throws the can of B3 at the Yellow and the B3 explodes as it bounces off the Yellow's chest, blowing him to bits. The explosion, however, is strong enough to make the Vendbot explode, and then everything starts coming down around Stacy and the Orange.
In this example I'm playing pretty fast and loose with damage. Every citizen has a pretty fixed damage track: Okay, Snafued, Wounded, Maimed, Down, Killed, Vaporized. Perfectly fine, injured and can't spend Perversity on your own character, no perversity and missing a limb, knocked prone and gets one more action before being KO'd the next round, dead, a scorched pile of ash. The official rules are that you calculate damage using the rating of armor and the damage stats of the weapon. Weapons have "steps" of damage, meaning that they can do a minimum amount and a maximum amount. The steps of a punch are Okay to Killed, a TacNuke has the steps of Killed to Vaporized. Each type of weapon does a different kind of damage: Impact, Energy or Biological. Explosives, lasers and plagues. And Armor can protect against certain kinds of damage or not protect against certain damage. A radiation suit protects against Energy and Biological, Reflec armor protects against Energy only (and has the added benefit of automatically protecting against colors of laser equal to its color and under, so Yellow blocks Yellow, Orange, Red and Infrared), Trooper protects up to Energy 3 and Impact 3. And no armor is no protection. So what's the "official" way to calculate damage?
1: Check the weapon's damage steps and start with the minimum amount of damage it does. Let's use the Orange's laser pistol as an example. A Laser Pistol does W3K damage, from Wounded to Killed, the number in the middle is the Boost number used to figure out bonus damage. So this pistol Wounds the Commie at the very least.
2: Reduce minimum damage by the a number of steps equal to armor value down to Okay. If this guy had real armor, he'd probably be alright, but the Red Commie has no armor so he's still Wounded at least.
3: Divide the margin of success (the gap between the successful roll and the target number) by the Boost and round down if you need to. Let's say the Orange's skill with energy weapons is 12 and he rolled a 6. 6/3=2, so +2 steps up.
4: Add the Boost to the minimum. So the attack now Downs the Commie. One way or another he's out of the fight and at the mercy of his own explosion.
The "unofficial" way? "Let's see. Target is twelve, you rolled a six, he's unarmored. Okay, you shoot him in the chest and he collapses as he throws the can of soda." THIS EXAMPLE BROUGHT TO YOU BY BOUNCY BUBBLE BEVERAGE. B3: THE DELICIOUS TASTE CLONES CRAVE!
Being a Blue clearance citizen, you actually get some pretty cool stuff and access to your very own (shared) vehicle! For starters, your Cone Rifle, the bastard child of a rifle, a rocket launcher and a grenade launcher. The damage of a cone rifle depends on what kind of cone you're using in the rifle. Load a shell, put a fuse in, fire and pray it doesn't jam and flies true. The Trooper-issued Cone Rifle can hold up to six primed shells in reserve and will automatically switch to them if you say what kind of shell you want to use. Or if someone else does. Or if you sneeze. Protip: put your players in places full of nasal irritants and remember that "achoo" sorta sounds like "tac-nuke". Common shells include: solid, rubber, dum-dum, high-explosive, gas, napalm, flare, glue, net, electronic counter-measure, tac-nuke, anti-vehicle. Fuses determine when the shells explode (if they explode). Default is contact, so if they touch something hard enough it goes boom. There are also heat fuses, remote fuses, gauss (if there's electronic distortion it detonates), timed fuses and purity fuses, which detonate if they detect mutant DNA. Those're especially fun. Just remember: if your Cone Rifle jams, don't hit it on anything hard or shove anything sharp down the barrel to unjam it.
Blues also get Laser Pistols as side-arms and truncheons for beating insolent citizens. Laser pistols require barrels to be screwed on to fire, firing lasers colored by the barrel. Each barrel is good for six shots and crack on the sixth. A dumb citizen/Troubleshooter/Trooper would replace the barrel on the sixth shot. A smart citizen/Troubleshooter/Trooper knows that a cracked barrel can still fire (but every shot lowers the critical jam ceiling from 20 by one for each extra shot; when that critical jam inevitably catches up with you, your whole pistol is probably gonna explode in your hands).
The X-317b suit of armor for Troopers is pleasantly protective, unlike standard Red Reflec, and it's full body except for the head. It's perfect for the active Trooper on the go. Your helmet has some fun tools too, like the giant deafening siren on your head that you can turn on and off (or get stuck permanently on), a flatscreen computer visor for checking for information/talking to Central, a deployable built-in camera, Perception Filters so you can't be affected by evil Commie propaganda and a built-in airbag that triggers at the slightest tap on your forehead.
You also get JET BOOTS!
You want to be careful with your jet boots, considering how even tap-dancing jauntily can set the drat things off. The moment someone turns their jet boots on and makes a "Use Jet Boots" roll is the moment everything is gonna go off the rails, so make sure you keep a hand on your laser pistol for your own protection. You steer using either your feet or your helmet's controls, whichever works for you, but remember: if they're not hovering, you're not stopping.
On top of this armor, certain Troopers get access to the X-404 Powered Armor. It offers 5 protection against everything and covers your whole body and head, but it's only offered to Security Officer Trooper, it's pretty slow, it's a giant, loud target and it's got a battery that can be recharged from power outlets and cigarette lighters in vehicles. If the battery runs out, you're pretty much trapped in their until you suffocate. The major upside is if your allies ever decide to turn on you, you're probably gonna win that firefight. Therefore the only logical course of action is to kill anyone who suggest you step out of the armor.
There are also DRUGS available. You can take drugs, you can make people take drugs, you can shower the citizens with drugs and let the fun and truth flow like blood from an overdose nosebleed. I will let the Drug Chart speak for itself. Remember citizen, drugs are mandatory.
YOUR VERY OWN SQUAD CAR (TO EVENTUALLY DESTROY)
As a Trooper, you get a squad car to share with the rest of your team. Vehicles are used to navigate the Transtubes, which are massive underground tube-shaped highways where there is no speed limit and you're probably going to end up driving on the ceiling. Transtubes are clearance-coded like the rest of Alpha Complex, so despite being Blue there are a lot of detours you're probably going to end up taking trying to get to the scene of the crime. Could be worse; you could be a hapless Red Troubleshooter stowed away in the back of a Transbot who has to hop from car to car so they're not in a forbidden clearance zone. Transtubes have a central rail in the middle of the tube that provide power, and Power Services is responsible for maintaining these rails. In layman's terms, a lot of transtubes don't have power or have power that flicker. Some of them are underwater, some of them are flooded, and some of them are underwater and flooded and the central rail is live.
So you have a car and hopefully you didn't piss off the motor pool so you have a GOOD car. This means you have a hovering vehicle driving through the Autobahn equivalent of a railgun full of drugged maniacs flying alongside you and you have to weave and evade around them to get to the exit you need without crashing at any step along the way. Your car comes equipped with an autopilot, which is all well and good except their intelligence is tied to whether or not the tube your in has power issues, it doesn't account for construction, and it doesn't know how to evade incoming traffic or brake at intersections. So you're probably going to have to steer manually, and Vehicle Operations training is not included in IntSec training. One more thing to note: your vehicle is powered by a shiny microfusion generator so even if the power fails, your car will still keep going, just in freefall. The generator is also enclosed in plastic, not lead, and you might want to not hit the ground that hard.
In summation, transtubes and driving your shiny new vehicle is a great way to kill everyone on your team if you think they deserve it. And believe me, they deserve it. To increase your odds of survival, you should probably be/shoot the driver and jump out. Just another "accident" in Alpha Complex, citizens.
NEXT TIME: Trooper Duties, Investigations and Your Roles in the Group.
|# ¿ Jan 8, 2014 20:16|
I intentionally skipped over the roles in IntSec other Service Groups provide for a mini update, so now's as good a time as any.
Crowd Control: Crowd Control differs from Goon Squad pretty heavily. Goon Squad's job is to be scary and intimidate people. Crowd Control's job is to keep crowds pacified through superior firepower/repeated clubbings/lots of yelling. There's a certain degree of overlap but barking orders and waving a loaded gun is practically Intro to Armed Forces 101.
Special Weapons Division: Remember when you had a cool new toy and you refused to let anyone play with it because it was yours and awesome? The Special Weapons Division exists to do that with grown-rear end citizens. SWD has the big guns and they force their way onto teams, claiming that they're absolutely necessary because they have the big guns. IntSec and the other departments hate them for their redundancy and bravado showboating but nobody wants to try and can them because, well, they know how to use those big guns.
Power Armor Corps: Power Armor Corps is actually useful, however, using both IntSec and Armed Forces personnel to train Troopers on the proper use of power armor. And unlike SWD, they share their toys, even if their toys are hard to use, slow and noisy.
Civilian Recruitment & Rendition: You get to shanghai treasonous criminals and force them into service as Troopers. Or, more likely, claim you're making them into Troopers then stuff them in a crate and take them to use as Armed Forces soldiers/target-holders in a firing range.
Explosives and Demolition: You're the bomb squad in the sense that you handle all of your problems with bombs. Traffic jam? Blow it up. Treasonous material? Blow it up! Terrorists in a reactor core? BLOW IT UP! Giant fancy out-of-control R&D superbomb threatening to explode? Disarm it and take it for yourself.
Archival Data Retrieval: Thanks to MemoMax recordings, every single microsecond of a clone's life is recorded from their brain. And thanks to Alpha Complex being a super-advanced police state, most of those microseconds are recorded by camera, surveillance device or transaction receipts. ADR workers have the job of digging up minutiae from the lives of citizens and cross-referencing it with every little possibly treasonous thing, and then withholding that information from the people who really need it.
Correctness Assessment & Reinforcement. Be! Efficient! B-E efficient! Your job is to increase efficiency and improve procedures for IntSec whenever possible. Being its own self-contained beast that "knows how to run itself", IntSec generally resists this and fights it every step of the way. It's also your job to "suggest" that they follow these new procedures.
Credit License Checkers: It's your job to investigate fraud and credit reports and throw fines at everyone. It's an enviable position because despite being an accountant cop you get to free up credits and make sure they go to the right people (i.e. an unlicensed credit stick in your pocket).
Public Hating Coordination: You make sure people hate the right people, make sure the Troopers oppress the right Secret Societies and make sure everyone is afraid of the mutant menace. You're a fear-monger, basically, and most of the time you're probably pushing your own sinister traitorous agenda to help discredit your enemies. If you're an Anti-Mutant, then you're probably in the right mindset to do this job: counter-productive and self-loathing.
Embedded Reporter: you have a camera in your helmet and it's up to you to make sure those jackbooted thugs you're following around look like good, clean, morally upstanding jackbooted thugs that make all citizens strive to be good citizens. Oh, you're also reporting live and you're technically not allowed to view everything and you can't let the citizens watching see certain things, like the inside of an Ultraviolet bathroom or where IntSec's waterboarding facility is or how the Troopers you're following are really just murderous fascists.
History Purification: You work with Reality Control to help adjust the history of Alpha Complex so that everything lines up evidence-wise. Of course, this job is a lot like pulling a loose thread on an old weather-beaten sweater and you only have chopsticks to re-knit the sweater.
Happiness Enhancement & Management: You help IntSec make people happy! This generally means making drugs, electronic shock-happy machines and giant laser arrays that beam radio-waves of happiness into the heads of citizens. Or more likely you're helping to clean up the mess of an exploded machine and an exploded citizen's skull.
Field Testing: This is normally a job for Troubleshooters, but then again there are some things to test you just can't trust a Troubleshooter with. Or maybe you're being punished by your superior. Just try to get the data and not cause too much collateral damage.
Security Supply: You follow Troopers and IntSec officials around, kissing their rear end and trying to get them interested in neat, new PLC supplies and services. You're basically a salesman to cops, and they might just live the dream of denying your sale with a big enough gun.
Marketing and Brand Management: You get to keep the money flowing by making Troopers as marketable as possible. This is harder than it sounds; you can slap a bunch of endorsements on them or just lie about them and how they behave, or you can actually try to make them good, popular, marketable commodities. Guess which job is easier?
Plumbing and Wiring Consultants: Yeah, sure, you can put a new security camera in that there wall, but that's a load-bearing wall and it'd require its own dedicated power supply. Your job is to make sure that IntSec's scheming and machinations don't bring Alpha Complex crashing down or that the Troopers don't destroy anything too important.
Hardware Support: Nothing too fancy. You destroy/fix Trooper hardware if they need it. Not everyone can have a glamorous, destructive job.
Collateral Damage Assessment Bureau: If Plumbing and Wiring Consultants make sure important stuff doesn't get broken, then you should be able to make sure power doesn't get disrupted by Troopers or IntSec. It's only fair, right? Those stupid Tech Services jerks with their fancy machines and construction.
Mandatory Team Member: How come Tech Services gets two temporary roles? We should get two too! It's only fair! Those traitorous Commie jerks! You get to show up and fill an empty spot.
|# ¿ Jan 9, 2014 21:12|
Yeah, every time I see d20 get mentioned it's generally "oh d20 sucks" or "oh d20 conversions make the games suck". I tried to run a d20 conversion for Deadlands because I couldn't play actual Deadlands with friends online because it requires decks of cards to play, and I just got bogged down in how different it felt.
d20 Apocalypse would be cool. I think I have that book because I liked the idea of randomly-generated ruins to loot and Fallout-style radiation mutations but I just didn't feel like dealing with d20 anymore.
|# ¿ Jan 9, 2014 21:28|
You had me at "Fringe-like RPG", I'm willing to pay five bucks to see how that plays out.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2014 06:40|
Every time I hear about oWoD Changelings versus nWoD Changelings it's always the same old song and dance about how it was a "light-hearted, happy series about finding beauty in creativity in imagination~ that become the darkest and grimmest series about the destruction of your identity and self and picking up the pieces and you may never truly be free". But now that I'm actually looking at oWoD Changeling holy poo poo I am glad I never saw this stuff in highschool.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2014 18:15|
A clairvoyant janitor/handyman. He has the ability to read people's histories, emotions and past thoughts through cleaning up their messes or scattering some of their trash and reading what falls out. It's not something he particularly understands how he does it, he just has some confusing mental images whenever he scrapes gum off a desk.
|# ¿ Jan 13, 2014 05:41|
Tumblr .gifs and smartphones.
|# ¿ Jan 13, 2014 18:16|
In Alpha Complex's war on crime, the worst Commie Mutant Traitors are pursued by the Troopers of Internal Security. These are their stories.
So, Trooper Jobs! Every Trooper in a team has a Special Officer Duty to fulfill in the group and that means you get to hinder your allies in some way, shape or form. You get a Teamwork Enhancement Upgrade to control and you have a responsibility you are accountable for. Your fearless leader is the...
LEAD TROOPER: The big boss, the captain of the team, the Lead Trooper is in charge of all of the others. This means that if anyone yells at the team, they'll yell at him first. The best candidates for Lead Trooper are generally incompetent and easily manipulated knuckleheads, wishy-washy hand-wringers who try to make everyone on the team happy, or sociopaths all too eager to put his allies in danger. The Lead Troopers moves the investigation, so don't be afraid to bully them into getting on with it if everyone's taking too long. They get the Teamwork Enhancement Upgrade known as the...
FIREPOWER CONTROL: the Lead Trooper has a belt-mounted wireless doodad slaved to the Cone Rifles of the other Troopers. If the switch isn't on, the gun can't fire, but unless you stare at your leader's crotch you generally don't know if your gun is on or not. The control on your gun can be hacked manually so you can use it whenever you want, or you can make excuses to hug or bump into the Lead Trooper and "accidentally" turn your own safety off. A good Lead Trooper would never tell his followers that their guns can fire and leave them defenseless in certain death, no sir, nuh uh.
COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER: The face of the team, the CLO has the job of interacting with the civilians and doing talky things like hostage negotiation or reading bomb-defusal instructions. They handle the requests and the paperwork and any complaints from the civilians and they're also in charge of the Compliance Index whenever they go somewhere. In a nutshell, they're a customer service agent with a big ol' gun and they will end up with the mindset appropriate for this task. They have control over...
DIRECTIVES CHIPS: little chips implanted in the skulls of Troopers (next to the remote-controlled cortex bomb) that temporarily paralyze anyone issued with it with a set of directives delivered by mental briefing. The main purpose is to educate Troopers on new tasks on the fly. The book recommends using them to kill people or lie to them by, say, turning their chip on as they try to scale a ladder over an active trash incinerator or by pretending you were the one with the chip and that other people have to do what you say. In short, it's a handy little bit of weaseling material.
SECURITY OFFICER: You get the blatantly fun and destructive toys. Like I previously mentioned, you get to control and ride around in the Power Armor, and you can go as slow as you want in it and the others have to wait for you. You also get to make sure everything is secure and you control manipulating the Security Index, which is generally making citizens feel secure. I'd say a good way to do that is to equip your Power Armor with a megaphone and stomp around issuing vaguely comforthreatening platitudes. But you also get...
CORTEX BOMBS: To ensure loyalty for all Troopers, every Trooper has a hole drilled in their head and a mechanical/electronic socket is installed. This is where all of your Trooper chips and your Cortex Bomb get installed. Don't put your finger right in the socket, that's gross and you don't need to poke your brain. The Security Officer has a little panel on his wrist that lets him detonate the bomb and POOF goes the Trooper head. This isn't to say that every single mission requires that your Cortex Bomb be live or even installed; you never know when the angry Security Officer is bluffing about his ability to kill you instantly.
SURVEILLANCE AND FORENSICS OFFICER: The S&FO gets to monitor security feeds and collect evidence. And oh boy is there evidence! Tons of it, most of it planted, all of it contradictory and it's up to you to fabricate or destroy evidence as you see fit. You also get a little forensic scrubbot to help you do stuff like dust for prints and find toenails or really just act like a little Roomba version of Friend Computer. The S&FO also gets access to all of IntSecs archives in Central, meaning that they can feasibly look up anything they want, such as past data relevant to your teammates. The big hazard of doing that however is that the archives are massive and sprawling and you're gonna have to work hard for your data. And who has time to go fact-hunting when you're in charge of raising the Loyalty Index to boot? Or you can just use...
SURVEILLANCE CHIPS: more head-chips that let you see through the eyes of another Trooper. It may or may not temporarily blind the other Trooper as you use it, it may or may not give you both a headache, and it may or may not cause a bizarre feedback that causes you to swap bodies or gives you a cerebral hemorrhage.
INTERROGATION & THOUGHT CONTROL OFFICER: Like the legendary gun-toting clerics of Christian Bale's youthful adventures, your job is to get confessions out of perps and citizens. They can send you to the Confession Booths or interrogate you and get what falls out of your mouth. I&TC Officers control Perception Filters on their allies' helmets, which is akin to temporarily deafening and blinding an armed maniac. Their job is to raise the Happiness Index, and who better to use for that than the guy who can beat nine shades of treason out of you with a truncheon? Their other tool is...
MEMO-MAX RECORDINGS: Brain chips that overwrite the personality of the Trooper who has it installed. The main mind can watch everything that happens as the stranger takes over, and in theory the chip has an upstanding citizen/Trooper on board. In reality it's a shadow of a mind on a chip and there's an equal chance a traitor or a criminal takes over your armed comrade. Also in theory you should be able to turn the chip off remotely. But it's a chip in a brain so why not just give his head a good, solid thumping?
DESIGNATED DRIVER: Aww. They didn't have any job for you. Your job is to drive, maybe. More often than not you're probably just going along with the others or shooting your gun. On the upside, you have nothing extra to worry about. On the downside, they don't really need you, so guess who they're gonna send to see if that Commie with a plasma gun is still shooting? You get...
NOTHING: Maybe the keys to the car, maybe some gear the others need you to carry.
INVESTIGATIONS AND MISSIONS
Nothing is ever easy in Alpha Complex, citizens.
For starters there's surveillance everywhere, strong or weak depending on where you go. Surveillance in an area is rated at a minimum of 0 (Outdoors, sewer tunnels, talking to the GM) or 1 (IntSec interrogation chambers) to 19 (Central Compnodes) or 20 (bathrooms). Everywhere is monitored to a certain extent, so the process of Investigation is pretty simple.
1: Receive your mission and mission briefing, receive additional supplies as necessary, buy additional supplies as necessary, make any pre-mission calls to "acquaintances" who might "help" you.
2: Review surveillance evidence, if there is any.
3: Head to the scene of the crime.
4: Keep alert at the scene of the crime. Search for evidence, question citizens, wave your gun around. Come up with your own drat conclusions based on stuff that's circumstantial at best or false leads fed to you by the GM: unless you're face-to-face with the source of the problem (PURGE terrorists, sewer mutants, Machine Empath controlling a warbot) you have to figure out who to blame and why they're responsible for it.
5: Pick up on clues and follow them to the next scene then repeat step 4. Keep collecting as much evidence as you can; the point of the game is to rack up 20 points of Treasonous Evidence for someone to take the blame, even if they're your allies. Don't be afraid to use your little Forensic Scrubbot buddy or cash in a Secret Society IOU for help.
6: Interrogate the traitor. Unless you're playing this in Straight mode where it's all intentionally horrifying and grim, don't dwell too much on what torture and rendition actually is and what it entails. IntSec agents have Telescopamine (truth serum) at their leisurely disposal, brain scanning probes/mind-reading machines and lots of very loud agents to Law and Order the heck out of the perp; if your players are uncomfortable with interrogation and torture, keep it simple and tread lightly on the details. The creators admit that torture is a means to an end and that answers given under duress are not inherently the right answers, they're just said to make it stop.
Interrogation Rules: The interrogator rolls Interrogation and the subject rolls a relevant skill to resist. Macho is good for resisting, so is Chutzpah, Suggestion or a blanket Violence or Management roll. Interrogation and torture inherently does some damage to the subject but not on a success; a success gets you the answers. A failure deals damage to the subject based on how big the margin of failure was, meaning you've simply hurt them but not succeeded. If the subject succeeds in their roll, they're hurt but they don't divulge anything. In a nutshell: a Trooper with a bad Interrogation skill is a bad interrogator. They're working them over but they're gonna kill them before they get an answer. There are alternatives to performing interrogation yourself as well. Interrogation Booths can do the job for you and just require you to put the subject inside, pay a few credits and wait a minute for a result. Interrogation Booths have a 10 in Interrogation. If the subject is strong-willed or if everyone's just very bad at doing their job, they can be renditioned and brought to MiniPOL Central who have a 15 and are scarily effective but are a giant bureaucratic department and it might be weeks or hours before you get an answer. Every confession adds to the subject's Treason points and Interrogation ends when the subject's score reaches 20 on top of evidence against them.
Again, I respect the creators for admitting that this is a touchy, possibly uncomfortable subject for people, and if you're not okay with it you can have an Interrogation Booth do the job. They also emphasize that you should not be reliant on torture to get answers, that interrogation and presentation of good, solidly built evidence and a case along with some perp-sweating tends to get the job done. We're operating on TV/video game logic, after all.
So you've got a person to blame, they're giving up the names of everyone they're associated with and the Commissioner is satisfied. Good job, right? Well, remember Troopers: everyone in Alpha Complex is in a Secret Society and playing Paranoia: IntSec lends itself well to episodic, continued gaming. The GM might have something big planned and they may decide that the Free Market Enterprise is mad that your arrests interrupt their operations or PURGE thinks that your busts means they should strike on IntSec first before the rest of Alpha Complex. The path of the Trooper is a dangerous one, citizens, and higher-clearance citizens are in Secret Societies too.
7: Punishment of the guilty. 20 points of treason mean that you qualify for termination; laser through the head, next clone pops out and this new one totally isn't a traitor. If the guilty party (or Trooper) is being punished for anything before 20 points of Treason, they can accept punishments to lower their Treason score. It's perfectly possible for you to build that 20 point case and have only half of them count, even after interrogation, which can lead to doling out punishment. Counting Termination (which resets your treason points to 1), punishment can go from slap-on-the-wrist to erasure.
Fines: Pay a sum of money, from cheap to outrageous, as your punishment. Removes 0 points, just takes a toll on your wallet.
Official Reprimand: An official or a counselor gives you a stern talking-to/yelling-at and you get to feel like a little kid when your dad is very disappointed in you. Removes 0 points, leaves you feeling kinda crummy.
Probation: The offender is reprimanded and given a time-out on top of that or issued a device that punishes you or reminds you of your misdeeds if you slip up. Removes 1 point of treason.
Censure: HPD&MC teams up to make citizens know this offender did something bad, from a mention of their offenses in the news or a forehead tattoo that displays their misdeeds. Expect lots of dirty looks from strangers and coworkers going tsk tsk tsk. Removes 5 points of treason.
Public Hating: Like Censure but HPD&MC makes you the face of public shame and ridicule for what you've done and encourages people to shun and ostracize you. In your shoes, I'd stick with the forehead tattoo, at least they can remove it. Also removes 5 points.
Demotion: You go down a Clearance level. Harsh. That means you have to give up everything of that clearance you own and you have to move to another lower place to stay. Removes 5 points from your Clearance level, if you're a Trooper this means that you have to listen to what other Troopers tell you to do.
Medication: You get pills you have to take. What drug you get really varies depends on what you did, what it does depends on how the GM rolls. Remember, try not to mix drugs, because then you end up with even more side effects. Removes no points if it's a one-time deal, if you're permanently stuck on that medication you get 7 points removed.
Brainscrub: You're taken into a nice bright room and strapped into a chair and a bunch of DocBots and other IntSec Troopers take a good look at your brain and using drugs and procedures help erase those treasonous thoughts. Best case scenario, you can still function. Worst case scenario, you have to rewrite your whole character sheet. Removes 10 points.
Imprisonment: Very, very rare, normally reserved for those being held before trial. Long-term Imprisonment actually adds 5 points to your Treason Points because you're surrounded by the stuff and probably learned a few new things.
Termination: Bring out the next clone!
Erasure: The last resort of punishment in Alpha Complex, normally reserved for Machine Empaths. Erasure doesn't just kill you; they erase your genetic codes from the clone banks permanently (unless you paid someone to back you up), erase your MemoMax recordings so your personality is destroyed (see previous statement) and then they kill you. Rough stuff, doesn't even factor into the removal of Treason points due to your cessation of existence.
So that, in all, is the general gist of what it's like to be an IntSec Trooper and an overview of Paranoia: Internal Security painted with rather broad strokes. If you're interested, I recommend picking up the PDF at least. It's a neat breed of creature and I will admit it's not for everyone. Also included in the book is some premade characters and some adventures to let you see what it looks like in motion.
Thank you for your time, citizens, and have a pleasant daycycle.
NEXT TIME: Anything I might've missed, anything anyone has any questions about. I'd like to answer questions about Secret Societies and Mutations too if you have any.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 22:37 on Jan 13, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 13, 2014 22:28|
Wow that's pretty much Eddie from Iron Maiden.
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2014 17:11|
So do the Changelings ever offer an alternative to going to school (not counting home school or living life in the woods as a feral, gassy hippie fool) or is the book just like "primary school sucks, middle school sucks, high school sucks 90% of the time, at least you can buy weed and go on road trips in college, it's all loving terrible and killing you but you have no choice so suck it up"? Because if that's the case wow that's one of the most whiny cases of "I don't like things but I don't know/care enough to change them so whatever" I've seen in a while.
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2014 18:23|
Changelings who have kids would probably never put them into, like, the foster care system or on firehouse doorsteps because that's actually not the best system for a kid to grow up in. They probably keep the kids and become Terrible Hippie Parents whose kids inevitably rebel during the teenage years and get all mad that their parents don't give them rules and restrictions and stability and a coherent education.
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2014 18:41|
Like Logan's Run if they were running from being responsible adults, nobody really needed to catch them and they still died at the age of
|# ¿ Jan 16, 2014 18:54|
Errata Mattas: Odds and Ends of IntSec
I'm not gonna go into any real depth about ALL of the Secret Societies in Paranoia because you could just go to Wikipedia or check out the core book for information. I'm also gonna skip elaborating on the new/current mutations seeing as how they're pretty self-explanatory by name. The vanilla Societies are classic and pretty well known BUT IntSec adds new groups and a new way to classify the different types of Secret Societies. So I'll be showing off the new groups and giving a blurb about them.
IntSec classifies Secret Societies by A, B or C.
Type A's are societies full of wackos and crazies but are harmless, deep underground or at the very least ineffective. Some of them used to be social groups or initiatives dreamed up by Friend Computer and the High Programmers but they've kinda gone awry, though they don't pose any danger to the security of the Complex. Type A's: Death Leopard, First Church of Christ Computer Programmer, Free Enterprise, Program Group, Romantics, Sierra Club,
Type B's are smaller, weirder and more dangerous. They're possibly useful assets because they're obsessed with one certain thing in Complex life and might or might not be big threats to the security and the stability of the Complex. Type B's: Anti-Mutants, the C.L.A., Clone Arrangers, Corpore Metal, Mystics, Pro Tech, Runners, The Wobblies (International Workers of the World).
Type C's are ultratreasonous and are actively fought against by IntSec because they're big threats to the regime. Unless the decisions makers are on the take for them, then that's a problem. Type C's: Communists, Computer Phreaks, Frankenstein Destroyers, Humanists, The Movement, The Old Guard, PURGE, Servants of Cthulhu, Spies for Another Complex,
Type Unknowns defy classification, being too inscrutable or unknowable. The Illuminati are the sole occupants of this ranking.
THE C.L.A.: Standing for The Complex Laser Association, the C.L.A. hates Commie Mutant Traitors as much as anyone else. They hate them so much their hate bleeds over into a love for energy weapons; namely stockpiling them. They used to be a civilian militia who managed to buy some guns through the Infrared Market, but eventually enough of them began to believe that IntSec and the Armed Forces were corrupt and in league with the Commie Mutant Traitors so they should be brought down and replaced by the C.L.A. Despite the name they don't just like lasers. They're big fans of anti-matter, nuclear warheads and poison gas explosives. They hate the Communists, believe that every Citizen has the right to arm themselves for bear and are friends with the FCCC-P.
CLONE ARRANGERS: Free Enterprise controls the Infrared Market and the Clone Arrangers are the Free Enterprise of the cloning tanks. They essentially are a union that runs the entire cloning department of Alpha Complex and if you want to succeed there, you have to get in real good with them like a real paisan. They offer services most citizens can only get as Blues, namely getting more clones added onto your lifespan AND possibly getting your genome cleaned up to remove any genetic drift. You can also pay them to fuss with other people's clones or affect their MemoMax recordings, but their services never come free (though they are cheap compared to legal Alpha Complex channels). They're friends with Pro Tech, hate Free Enterprise because they keep trying to muscle in on their racket, and depending on the time of day they either love or hate Psion and the Anti-Mutants.
THE MOVEMENT: Once upon a time a bunch of Sierra Clubbers came to believe that Alpha Complex was gonna implode on itself and they were all doomed. These doom-sayers formed The Foundation, who ran around trying to warn people. Eventually most of the agents of The Foundation got tired of waiting for Alpha Complex's doomsday to come, so they formed The Movement. The Movement's goals are twofold: first, build their own Complex out in the Outside from blueprints and stolen plans and second, hasten the inevitable death of Alpha Complex with their own actions. Rumor has it they completed step one, so now they're working to blow up and level Alpha Complex so their new Complex will be necessary and they can be the new masters. They primarily steal construction equipment and supplies when they're not stealing and rigging WMDs and inciting terrorist riots. They're allied with the Humanists, Pro Tech and PURGE and they hate the spies from other Complexes because those other Complexes are just as corrupt and doomed as Alpha Complex.
OLD GUARD: Being an Ultraviolet and a High Programmer is THE most dangerous occupation in Alpha Complex, short of being used as a living reactor shield. And you're not safe on top; the other High Programmers didn't get there by being fat and lazy, they earned their position and got theirs and they want yours too. So sometimes High Programmers are disgraced bad enough they no longer can be Ultraviolets, or maybe they're killed a whole bunch and presumed dead. The Old Guard is a group of ex-High Programmers who live in secrecy in Alpha Complex, plotting to overthrow the current High Programmers and reinstate themselves. They mostly accomplish this by mooching off of citizens who believe in them and support them. They have no allies; revealing their existence would only screw them over. And they hate the other Program Groups created by the still-ruling High Programmers.
PROGRAM GROUPS: They are not, strictly speaking, Secret Societies. They're a bunch of citizens who were recruited by a High Programmer for a purpose and they can hire more citizens in. It's your job to do what your benefactor wants you to do, so you can be a goon squad, you can sabotage another High Programmer's Program Group, or you can just pick up a whole mess of Cold Fun for your leader's Cold Fun Social he's throwing next weekcycle. Program Groups hate the Old Guard and have a friendship with FCCC-P.
RUNNERS: Like the Sierra Club, the Runners want to leave Alpha Complex. Unlike them, the Runners are convinced they must because the entire Complex is out to get them and kill them. They operate a smuggling operation to get citizens to safety and they sabotage IntSec operations to catch them because IntSec is the hand of Friend Computer and they don't feel like getting squished by that hand. They're pretty benign, just paranoid, unless they're engaged in acts of vandalism and sabotage. They're friends with the Sierra Club and The Movement (even if they don't agree that the Complex should be destroyed) and don't like Humanists very much. Why rebuild the Complex in your image when you can just leave?
SERVANTS OF CTHULHU: The Servants of Cthulhu want to bring about the end of times by summoning the Great Old Ones when the stars are right.
No, wait, come back, I'm being serious.
The SoC are a legit cult of Lovecraftian beasts obsessed with ritual sacrifice and summonings and think their mutant powers are magical gifts from the Old Ones. However, most of them realize this is garbage and that the others are being dumb. IntSec agrees, seeing as how magic isn't a real thing, and they're mostly idiots who either read some bad Romantic books or are suffering from hallucinations due to certain drugs in the water. However this doesn't stop the more sane agents from repeatedly breaking into R&D to steal dimensional technology to force the fabric of space-time apart. Just because magic isn't real doesn't mean that reality-collapsing neutron bombs aren't. The Mystics heavily oppose the Servants of Cthulhu, trying to stop them at every turn (though they're both crazy drug fanatics so it's not particularly impressive) and the SoC are enemies with FCCC-P who as good servants of Christ, Computer Programmer will not stand for a heathen cult bringing lies into their midst. The only people who will be friends with them are Psion, because as far as Psion is concerned an interdimensional horror is a good ally to have.
WOBBLIES: Once upon a time the Computer found some buried info about the real International Workers of the World and demanded that they be brought to justice. The first Troubleshooter team sent to investigate came back saying that they weren't real and weren't up to anything, so they were terminated for treason. The second team came to the same conclusion and were also terminated for treason. The third said that the Wobblies were totally a real thing and a big ol' threat boy howdy, and that's how they were formed. Wobblies are really just spies spying on spies and nobody knows that they're not a real thing so they ended up being a mixture of PURGE, the Commies and Frankenstein Destroyers and IntSec likes to put agents into the Wobblies because their friends, coincidentally, are the Communists and the FD so they tend to get some hot tips. Being Commie-supporters and enemies of Friend Computer, they butt heads with Free Enterprise and FCCC-P.
To wrap it all up, let's talk about play styles. The core Troubleshooters book offered up three types of play, depending on the experience you wanted to have. They were:
Classic: Soda explodes, your powers backfire, everyone's a little nuts and the blame game will save your life. Follow the core environment of the book with that slightly silly black comedy vibe and you've got the gist of Classic.
Zap!: everything explodes, everything is treason, you're all gonna die and it's all wonderful. Zap! is zany slapstick, plain and simple. Everything is an excuse for a firefight, there's no real plot, it's really just an excuse to mess around and shoot your buddies.
Straight: Alpha Complex is terrifying. The evil is inherent in the system, it's not funny at all, and you're at the whims of competent, sane sociopaths who run a machine greased with clone blood and lies. And you're a part of the great machine tasked with making sure it runs. Straight is pure dystopia action where eventually you will be brought low as a traitor when they don't need you anymore.
IntSec offers up three different and new styles of play that complement the general tone, gear and goodies offered up by IntSec. They are: Horror, Heist and Overkill.
HORROR: Horror is a lot like Straight BUT not focused on the dystopian aspects of Alpha Complex. If you want to feel guilty over your actions, play Straight. If you want to feel like the last line of defense against an insidious, invisible menace, play Horror. There is something bad in Alpha Complex, subverting the irreverent, silly fascist dictatorship for its own greedy desires. There are things taking the places of loyal citizens and they are out for blood and control. Horror reduces the violence and silliness except for when it's needed, focusing in black comedy and slow-burning dread and suspense instead. It also adds the Infiltration Index, which measures just how much they've taken over the Complex's districts and its citizens. Horror is about trust, character evolution, secret societies banding together to survive while keeping an eye on their enemies and the fear that the teammate that you trust the most is one of them.
HEIST: Everyone in your team knows each other, they know they can trust each other. They're buddies, their Secret Societies are all friendly-like, that's why they're put together into this team. The point of Heist is that you're all working together to pull off a job while pretending to be real good Troopers. Work together to split the cash for the job or snitch on the others to get off good if you get caught by IA and let the others hang, it's all up to you. Heist is a game about actually working together but still keeping a hand on your gun as you watch the others, it's about looking like angels when they see you with your hand in the cookie jar, it's a game about knowing when to shoot and when to schmooze and when to book it.
OVERKILL: Overkill is a lot like Zap! but without the silliness. The point of Overkill is simple: you are the law. You have the big guns. They are the criminals. Put lots of holes in them with your big guns. Overkill is a playstyle that's all about jumping into the fray, outnumbered, while screaming and shooting, thumbing your nose at the book and the law while mowing down every scumbag that gets in your way. It's a game about morally grey men beating insurmountable odds and living to see the Commissioner demand their badges for how they behave.
And thus concludes Paranoia: Internal Security. A neat change of pace for a fan of everyone's favorite happy, functional dystopia, an interesting jumping-off point for those who are interested for the first time. The few times I've fooled around with it I've been moderately satisfied, and a lot of the things I explained are how I see them playing out or being understood. It can get a little bit heavy at times, but it's never afraid to let you step back and just have fast-and-loose fun and for that I respect the hell out of it.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 09:22 on Jan 17, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 17, 2014 08:59|
Lemme just preface this by saying that I like SLA Enterprises and I like the treatment Traveller gave it. That's how I found this whole series in the first place. It's a game about urban horror filtered through the lens of Scotland in the 90s and it just rolls with its own take on the urban horror genre and it's...I don't know, I just like it.
Unhallowed Metropolis, I don't like so much. And that's what I'm gonna talk to you about.
UNHALLOWED METROPOLIS is a "gas mas chic" tabletop RPG set in London in 2105 where Neo-Victorians eke out an existence on a dead/dying/undead Earth where the dead walk and everything really should have given up the ghosts years ago but they endured. If this sounds like a good time to you, it's really kinda...not.
See, in SLA or Warhammer 40K or even Paranoia, there's hope. In SLA, if you work hard enough, you can leave Mort and go somewhere else or take certain drugs to make your own new universe nested within the World of Progress' reality. In Warhammer, there's Tzeentch and the idea that one day the wars will stop somehow, even if everyone but one group dies. And in Paranoia, there's hope that you'll have fun being a little bit crazy and maybe you can be a High Programmer one day (and you might! There's a sourcebook for that).
There's no real hope in Unhallowed Metropolis. London is a city on life support besieged by the undead and it'll take one bad failure to bring the last bastion of (British) civilization tumbling down into Hell. In fact, being corrupt and having darkness in your heart is a character feature. The game draws its inspiration from 19th century authors like Poe and Mary Shelley and it sure as hell nicks its characterizations from Lord Byron. What few innocent, what few good remain in Unhallowed Metropolis are given death quickly and early in their life. Only the bastards survive.
So why the hell review this game? Recently I got my hands on the revised edition which cuts out about, oh, seventy pages from the core book (which was a smidge over 400). I read the first edition a bit back and I want to share this new edition and share what they did/didn't change from the original (because at a glance they sure as hell didn't change some poo poo). And who knows, maybe you'll like it too. It sounded cool to me too at first. It's just that the execution needs a good polishing and there's gonna be a lot of headscratching and mild confusion pretty drat fast.
Chapter One: Unhallowed Ground (or a brief history of how everything went to poo poo, what the world is like, what other places are like, not actually that brief it's like 68 pages).
Chapter Two: Playing God (or making them characters and making them assholes, killers and thieves).
Chapter Three: The Formula (or how to play the game).
Chapter Four: Tools of the Trade (or your standard money and equipment chapter).
Chapter Five: Anatomy of Horror (or the nitty gritty of all them dead things what want to kill your fancy British rear end dead).
Chapter Six: Miracles of Science (or mad science and how it's all shiny and retro and Victorian).
Chapter Seven: Smoke and Mirrors (or the GM chapter).
Appendix A/B/C/D: Neo-Victorian Glossary/Bibliography/Index/Deathwatch Uniforms.
I'll be back to tuck into Chapter One as best as I can later. Also I'll be trying to show some of the art; they hired a bunch of pretty good artists and even in black and white it's kinda nice.
|# ¿ Jan 17, 2014 15:31|
To clarify a few things:
1: That's actually a zombie on the cover. Hard to tell but he's all rotted down to bones with his gas mask and top hat. Oh, excuse me, "Animate". Being all Victorian as hell means that they have different names for things.
2: Despite its many shortcomings, it's actually not really true steampunk. Or I wouldn't consider it as such. Gothic, sure. Victorian as hell, yeah. Yeah there's corsets and gas masks. But steam doesn't really factor into it. Everything is coal or oil powered, it's all based on technology that started to come about at the beginning of the 20th century, the rise of gasoline and diesel and less of a reliance on Industrial Revolution means of power. And pollution is a major problem. Trains, zeppelins and navy warships are some of the most important means of travel and then from there you get into Tesla stuff and Victorian pseudo-science. It's a weird niche and I guess you could call it Victorian Punk or Industrial Punk or whatever.
3: The setting and mechanics are really not suitable for running anything than Unhallowed Metropolis. There's a bunch of other places you could be in game but there are no other books or bits that support them, and if you were going to be there then you would be using a different system. It really only fits its main setting where London Is The Only Thing That Matters.
|# ¿ Jan 17, 2014 19:22|
I'll take a look at Hot War later because that does sound sorta neat. And on a related note, the people behind Unhallowed Metropolis made another game called The Day After Ragnarok, where the Allies nuke Jormungandr after the Nazis try to cause Ragnarok and the resulting giant snake corpse lands on the Earth and poisons most of the Americas and some of the ocean. So it's pretty safe to say that the Atomic Overmind wheelhouse is history-derailing apocalypses where the world is being slowly poisoned to death.
Anyway, Unhallowed Metropolis Chapter One.
CHAPTER ONE: UNHALLOWED GROUND PART ONE
Imagine a pumpkin that's been taken off the vine. Imagine you're taking that sucker home and you're gonna carve it and put it on your porch. And for a while, it's a nice looking squash. It's healthy, it's holding up well, it's looking good. But eventually that pumpkin is gonna get a little bit of mold and a little splotchy. And that mold is gonna spread and so will the splotches. Ever see a pumpkin that should've been thrown in the compost heap months ago? It's flat, it's putrid, the mold and decay is rampant. It's not even a solid object anymore, it's a wet, sloppy, bacteria-ridden mess. And it's just the gradual process of decay and decline. That's what happened to Earth in Unhallowed Metropolis. The pumpkin started to go bad.
Map of the United Kingdom, 2105. Over 70% of the land can no longer be inhabited by living humans.
The book starts off with a minor recap of the Victorian Era before it moves into the first stage of the new history: The Plague Years. On December 9th, 1905, the dead rose from their graves all around the world and started attacking the living. The big question is why and really nobody knows why. They ran rampant through the cities and the countryside, and no country was spared from the attack of the walking dead. Within days the cities across England were mostly abandoned as the military beat a desperate retreat to safety with as many civilians as they could rescue, destroying the bridges of London along the way, firing the guns of the Royal Navy and lighting fires in the streets in an attempt to bring the zombies (aka Animates) down. But a burning Animate can still run around and raise all sorts of burning hell and that's pretty much what happened. The survivors that didn't follow the British military ended up isolating themselves in abandoned factories and places of industry in the cities of England, using them to build weapons and fortifications. The rest ended up in refugee camps policed by the army and were rife with outbreaks, starvation and disease.
By 1908, 18 million Brits (out of a historical 419 million) are dead from a mixture of The Plague, starvation, disease and mass hysteria and the fate of England is uncertain. Parliament passes laws that say private property is suspended for a while so the survivors can use the factories as bunkers. As the survivors start to arm themselves and fight back, the British military starts instituting laws of hygiene, executing any soldiers or civilians who might be infected and start fighting to reclaim the countryside to help feed and make space for the civilians. And for the first time since the Plague (and starting the beginning of a recurring trend) poo poo gets worse.
How so? Well, on top of Animates, ghosts start freely roaming around the Earth. And on top of the ghosts, there's The Blight. The Blight, like the zombies, began to spread slowly on every continent of the world. The ground started becoming dirty and wrong, any crops grown on it came back twisted and mutated, anyone dead on Blighted soil comes back from the dead faster and of course it's slowly spreading. And when you're living on a series of islands like the United Kingdom, usable land is kind of a big deal! The resulting earth, known as The Wasteland, is the natural home of free roaming undead, ghosts and all manners of beasts and creatures that have resulted from eating mutant flora and living there. And on TOP of that, some people start gaining minor psychic powers. Which will be addressed if I ever get around to the expansion book.
So fun fun fun times all around for the people of England. All of this happening made the survivors panic and start building their walls higher and higher and the military starts focusing on retaking cities, surrounding them, cleaning them out of the undead using fire and munitions, knocking them to the ground and rebuilding. By 1927 most of the country is clear of Animates and the military tries to retake Leeds in 1931. After successfully cleaning out the city, one soldier gets bitten and tells nobody. By the time the builders show up a week later, the soldiers holding the city are all Animates hungry for more flesh and they have to retake Leeds again. They finally succeed in 1946.
FYI, from here on out, this happens a lot.
By 1935 the army launches an attack on London's West End in the start of the Reclamation, an act of taking London back from the Animates to use it as a new city to fortify against the walking dead. The Reclamation effort institutes the new plan the army follows in addition to killing anyone with a cough. Sections of the city are squared off, secured, cleared of undead, demolished, reopened to citizens and rebuilt. In 1940 the Labour Representation Committee is formed to help organize the rebuilding effort, putting refugees to work and reintegrating strongholds of survivors and their factories into society. Meanwhile, scientists and alchemists work on trying to create a super soldier immune to the Plague and once again poo poo gets worse. Their efforts create werewolves. No, really. The Thropes end up being immune to the dangers of the Wasteland and the infectious bite of the Animates but they're completely feral and their bite is infectious.
It's not until 1959 that London is a city free of the Animates.
Even More Bad Stuff: 1959-2015
London, as it stands, is a big ol' megacity of walled sectors, each one with gates and locks and security systems to give each sector the ability to lock down in case of an outbreak. Current procedure for an outbreak is to seal a sector, send in the Deathwatch, kill everyone infected or compromised, raze the compromised buildings and send workers in to rebuild. It's worked ever since the reclamation of the city and it's gonna keep being used until the city collapses.
The original London was quickly demolished and rebuilt with high walls surrounding the metropolis with farms and coal mines on the outside still being in operation to help provide power and food for the city. Every year the city would grow outwards a bit more and the usable land would decrease as the Blight spreads. To feed the city, scientists invent a mono-cell protein food that is grown in tanks (for the record, this is in 1953) and hooked up to the sewer system as a filtration system, growing and subsisting on plants and food from the farms along with sewage to create a mass-grown food for the populace. Called "scop", it's baked into cakes or porridge and it keeps the water drinkable and the people fed, even if it's greasy, tasteless and fed by poo poo-water. Of course, the farms are getting smaller and smaller and making less nutrient-rich food to put into the scop and of course there are rumors that the scop is being fed cadavers to beef it up. Which besides being a Soylent Green rip-off, it's a really terrible idea to do that when any corpse runs the risk of being a zombie after death. This is beginning a big, long trend of "necessary life aspects that are doomed to fail".
To compound making things worse, hordes of ravenous Animates are lead by sapient Animates wielding control over the others, crashing thousands of them against the walls of London and using the pile to get over the wall to attack. This is the first of many such attacks lead by Animate overlords and Deathwatch is formed in response, five divisions of soldiers and mercenaries welded together into a national public defense force. Deathwatch, however, is underfunded and in response to the response the citizens of London are allowed to be as armed as they want to be and can now apply as bounty hunters/freelance operatives (or Undertakers). Undertakers are licensed to hunt the undead and bring back proof of their eradication in exchange for a bounty.
While this is happening, the factories are made private again and the aristocracy immediately resumes putting their feet on the throat of the working class and middle class. As time goes on the industrialists keep making more and more bank rebuilding the city over and over and they have those stuffy old labor laws undone so women and children can work more at the factories. However, the main problem is that the beast of industry roars into motion again, requiring more and more coal and oil to feed it. The coal mines, as a whole, are mostly in the Wastelands. You can do the math there. The majority of the miners are criminals forced into 20 year shifts in the mines, and the mines in the Wastelands are the most dangerous holes in the ground. There's a drat high turnover rate and an outbreak in the mines would bring London to its knees. And that's two possible causes of death.
And on TOP of this is the rise of vampirism in the city. Vampires are rough-around-the-edges, Old World brutes that hunger for blood, tear people in half and are spread by a STD that acts like tuberculosis then brings them back as vampires. The diseases ended up spreading like wildfire for a bit when a whole mess of hookers caught it and passed it on, dead and alive. The main reason why the vampires didn't up and kill everyone is that the majority of the citizens are armed and know how to shoot to kill, so they tended to mistake vampires for muggers and thugs. Vampires are kept in asylums and studied for a while before Parliament decides that vampires no longer constitute as people so that the upper class cannot become vampires and keep all of their stuff forever. So as of 1986, vampires can be hunted and their ashes can be redeemed for a bounty.
The rich end up getting the last laugh when life-extension medical procedures are announced by scientists and begin funneling their money into funding them. The procedures completely restore life and vitality, but every additional shot brings less and less potency. If you have the money, you can live to be 300. Not like there's gonna be anything left in 150 years.
To add even more problems onto the city of London, doctors attempted to bring the dead back to life through scientific means and instead created the occasional rampaging alchemical superman. Reanimating the dead with alchemy quickly became illegal but a thing that still happens. Also illegal is creating wholly new forms of life. One such doctor attempted to create a new race of humanoid that could survive the Wastelands and breathe the polluted air of London and instead created a child-murdering sociopath that was killed alongside its maker in an act of mob justice.
And mob justice is a problem that keeps escalating as unemployment rises, scop runs out, coal runs low and the rich get richer. Anarchy and terrorism is a constant threat Deathwatch tries to keep an eye on, cells of bombers and attackers eschewing any affiliation or ideology, dedicated to bringing down the great city of London with their bare hands. It's completely, absolutely suicidal and it makes no sense, but they're irrational and no longer fear death, and for every one cell brought down two more spring up in its place. Again, another thing that might bring the death of London.
Finally, there's the fog of London. Ever since the city was reclaimed, it's been running on coal. And ever since the coal fires started burning near constantly, it's the law that the majority of dead citizens must be cremated to prevent any big outbreak. The mixture of the coal smoke and burning dead has added a sharp layer of teeth to London's fog, creating a toxic, choking ashy smog. Anyone outside has to wear a respirator of some kind, from a gas mask to a wet rag on your mouth and nose for the poor. Most buildings have airlocks that vent the outside air when going in and out to prevent it from getting in, and there are also fine mesh nets put up as physical filters that have never been replaced in the slums of the East End. The fog causes ash and poisonous chemicals to build up in the mouths of the citizens, annihilates the immune system and causes the majority of respiratory illnesses in addition to acid rain. In the winter, when the cold is bad enough, the fires burn hotter and longer and the city practically goes dormant, choked under a thick layer of smog that tends to kill poorer citizens, who then reanimate and go on a killing spree. The only thing that comes close to winter smog is when there's no smog, when the mere presence of sunlight and clean air causes the citizens to panic and riot.
Oh and on top of that the Thames is a toxic waste dump that all of the factories dump their garbage into, giving it a thick deadly miasma that can combine with the fog into a killer gas.
So far, things that can go wrong and destroy London:
I'm not even done with the first chapter.
Next time is Part Two: Life in London and the fact that other countries have managed to survive.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 05:05 on Jan 18, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 03:10|
Eight adjectives in one sentence used to describe one thing? I am immediately sold on the prospect that this sounds enjoyably horrible.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 03:50|
London is eternal. The metropolis is a living, breathing city, constantly growing and reinventing itself under the strains of tradition and pragmatism. With a population of nearly nine million souls within the breadth of its fortifications, the city itself is divided into twenty-eight boroughs which constitute greater London and its outlying suburbs. London, the center of the Neo-Victorian world, is the greatest city on Earth. In its two-thousand-year history, it has survived countless calamities, including fire, pestilence and civil unrest.
Just two minor points of note: the population of all of the British Empire, in 1900, was about 419 million. There's only about nine million left. Every time there's a major outbreak in a district, "only" 1-3 thousand die minimum. Either they didn't do as much math as they thought they did or they're hosed harder than they realize. Also if London is the safest place on Earth, that says a lot doesn't it? Either way, time for more Unhallowed Metropolis!
CHAPTER ONE: UNHALLOWED GROUND PART TWO
So I really had to split this in thirds because this is so full of fluff and backstory. There was a LOT more in the first edition of the book, which went a lot more in depth with the history of food riots, anarchic bombings and political disputes and law decisions and even then it's still pretty drat heavy. This time around we're gonna focus on a more in-depth look at London.
So there's a giant money gap in between the social classes. The rich have airlocks for their doors, the poor have to wear wet rags over their faces constantly indoors. Malnutrition and starvation is rampant in certain districts, the pollution literally kills, everyone's armed, sickness like cholera and tuberculosis still spreads and some citizens decide to take up serial killing to pass the time. But hey, there's no gender discrimination and racism anymore; women have been Prime Ministers and racism doesn't matter much when you're facing down the apocalypse. Alpha Complex looks well-adjusted compared to Neo-Victorian London.
THE WEST END (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3j2NYZ8FKs): The West End is home to Parliament, the Palace, the upper class and the aristocrats. Seeing as how the Royal Family is still in power, the West End is the heart of power in London. This means that they're rich with certain luxuries their ancestors worked hard for them to get and they repay that hard work with being assholes. The locals rarely leave and live in well-fortified manors, using manpower to control their affairs in the rest of the city.
THE EAST END: The East End is basically cursed. There is so much bad history, restless ghosts and misery there that it's responsible for the majority of the outbreaks the city faces. London refuses to close its borders, taking in any immigrants from any nation, and they tend to end up in the slums of the East End in a rowhouse. There's barely any running water, basic sanitation is a joke and flooding from the Thames and the fog tends to kill people often. And to top it off the police pretty much refuse to go there anymore and let them police themselves. The East End has a lot in common with a Cannibal Sector but with better construction.
ROOKERIES: Rookeries are ramshackle derelict buildings that end up leaning together to form a rats nest of slums. Large groups of criminals, thieves or terrorists tend to live in rookeries and they pop up in almost every district. Most of the time the police respond to the presence of one by firebombing it and shooting the survivors then pave over the ashes but another one always forms.
THE CITY: Home to the financial center, it holds all the banks of England and is the center of commerce. That's pretty much it.
NORTH LONDON: The rare middle class live in North London. It's very hilly and very village-y and kinda boring. "A lot of significant minority populations live there" says the book, such as Indian and Jews. Aside from that, North London is pretty boring if affluent and doesn't get more than a paragraph.
SOUTH LONDON: Home to the other half of the slums, the South Side of London was a suburb that was absorbed into the city proper during rebuilding. The industrialists live and operate there, building big fancy houses that tower over the workhouses and slums. It tends to make the poor there pretty drat angry if they don't work for them.
THE THAMES: Polluted to hell and back and home to most of the industry, the Thames literally has a fierce, dangerous miasma to it. Deathwatch also rebuilt the bridges and refitted them for riot/outbreak control. The smell and danger doesn't stop riverfolk and sailors from living there.
SUBTERRANEAN LONDON: The new London is built on the ruins and ashes of the old, and there's a LOT of space underground. Anyone who can't hack it or doesn't want to live in Neo-Victorian society tends to abandoned the slums to go to the Underground which is full of abandoned buildings and tunnels people forgot after the Plague. The government never bothered unsealing a bunch of areas, so really you could go down to someone's basement and end up breaking down a plastered-up wall that leads to a tribe of ghouls. Speaking of ghouls, the main inhabitants of the Underground are:
Basically they adapted the love of industry, commerce and richness and royalty into their society, replacing the rest with the right to never not be bearing arms, quietly surviving unspeakable horror and attempting to keep the world in order as it quite literally goes to poo poo.
Aristocrats: One of the big problems of the aristocracy is that WWI never happened and they never realized you should stop loving your relatives. The royal lines that survived the Plague bred like Australian bunnies to rebuild and remake their fortunes and ownerships and ever since people are pretty sure the aristocrats are really hosed up. There's rumors of severely inbred mutants living behind the golden doors of manors that will never see the light of day. If you're infertile hoo-doggy are you screwed and if you piss off your family they will stick you in a room you can never leave or cut off your rights and leave you on the streets of the East End. Despite all the hell they're giving everyone else, the aristocrats are just as hosed as the poor.
Industrialists: The Industrialists are the real evil compared to the Aristocrats, making money off the suffering of the masses left and right while talking about how they're salt of the earth men who worked their way up by tugging on their boot straps and having a whole mess of gumption. They live a lot better than the Aristocrats, ensuring that the great machine of London keeps running on the flesh, blood and bones of the poor.
Middle Class: Merchants, artists, craftsmen who actually believe in the moral fortitude the Aristocracy preaches. They're always trying to move on up to the West Side but they're never going to make it short of a corporate buyout or good inheritance.
Lower Class: Everyone else, a miserable oppressed lot of malnourished malcontents who alternately dream of being rich and powerful or killing the rich and powerful. A lot of them join Deathwatch, the Undertakers or criminal gangs, a lot of them work themselves to death in the factories or make bathtub "gin" out of scop.
THE MONARCHY AND THE CHURCH: I'm gonna be honest, I really don't care about these kinds of aspects. The monarchy involves the Crown and Houses of Parliament. Big issues involve the rights of civilians, scientific research, foreign trade and aid and making sure that the government doesn't collapse.
The church has lost a LOT of power over the years, what with people being born into a nihilistic bleak existence. A lot of agents of the church still try to run charities despite the soup kitchens and poorhouses always being overcrowded, broke and empty. A lot of clergy preach that this is the end of times, the time of Revelations, or that Judgement Day is just around the corner. A lot of people still believe in Christianity and a lot don't. It's hard work being a priest, seeing as how any act of faith in your fellow man and believe in the Lord has ended in being eaten alive or killed in the past.
DEATH RITUALS: In a nutshell, if you're not super rich you get cremated. The rich can afford to have their bodies interred in aboveground family tombs and everyone is expected to mourn a death across all social groups. The Mourners Guild is responsible for monitoring actual burials and funerals, a guild full of stoic women wearing veils, corsets and kukris in sheathes on their belts who stand watch over the wakes and funerals of the dead for three days and three nights, waiting for the possibility of reanimation. They don't take breaks, they sit in a chair and wait with a knife in hand, immediately cutting the head off should the dead stir.
Mourners are playable characters, FYI. They're the melee badasses of this game to the Undertaker's firepower badasses.
THE SPIRIT WORLD: Ghosts and dark shades of the dead are common occurrences and there are a lot of occult societies, either scholarly or amateur, invested in exploring the Afterlife. They're basically trying to make contacts with the dead to learn more about the spirit world, what's wrong with Earth and see if there's an actual afterlife. News of an actual existence of Heaven and Hell would be a massive boon to the people if proven, and a massive morale hit if there is nothing after death. The occultists are basically playing with fire that can make or break the faith of what's left of mankind, but a lot of their opponents claim that ghosts are nothing more than smudges of a soul that can still interact with the living.
UNDERTAKERS and THE OFFICE OF URBAN DEFENSE: The OUD pays the Undertakers for bounties and helps equip them with weapons like flamethrowers, stake guns and holy water and they're also responsible for taking the proof of bounty. Proof of bounty differs depending on the specimen; intact Animate heads fetch five silver pieces, 65% of a dead Vampire's ashes net you ten quid after they make sure you're not giving them tobacco ash and dust and enough bits of a Thrope to prove death are worth twelve quid. Signing up for being an Undertaker is ridiculously easy (the illiterate can sign their licenses with an X) and if you die, you die. People are trying to get the Undertakers shut down, saying that armed killers shouldn't be employed so easily and not really kept in check. They tend to be shut up by the people who ask them "well why don't you go kill a Vampire and keep us safe then rear end in a top hat?".
Undertakers tend to wear long leather coats over armor plating, armored gas masks, tight and low hats, heavy studded leather gloves, pack enough heat to destroy a building if need be and tend to carry kits and bags on them to carry tools like medical gear or small dustpans and vials.
DEATHWATCH: Undertakers are mercenaries and SLA Operatives. Deathwatch Soldiers are the Imperial Guard and SHIVERs. Dressed like they belong in the trenches of WWI, Deathwatch is made up of the brave, the foolish and the desperate who want to guarantee they have a roof over their heads. They're the acting army, responsible for war and protection of the great city of London, responsible for firebombing a district and putting up the barriers to rebuild the next day. It's a safer job than being in a factory at least.
COPS: The cops are responsible for upholding the law unless Deathwatch takes over. They make arrests, they have a PSI Branch just like Judge Dredd and they're the police. They're not that fancy, really, but they do get a lot of pages dedicate to them!
CRIME: Crime am bad. Crime does pay though. Burglars, thieves, prostitutes, con-men, thugs, they're all there and they all managed to survive. On top of that you have Resurrection Men who hock dead bodies to institutes and mad scientists by managing to save corpses from cremation. You also have hired killers and psychopaths and if you were afraid Jack the Ripper isn't gonna be mentioned at all he gets a obligatory nod. Infanticide is a distressingly common thing that's really on the rise and I'm pretty sure this ties into the notion that the truly innocent do not survive in this world. Punishment can range from a slap on the wrist to 20 years in a Welsh coal mine to public execution.
DRUGS: Opium, duh. There's also tobacco, laudanum, cocaine, heroin, slap (which is fermented scop) and "gin" (slap but fancier), marijuana and opiates galore. If you're wondering, like I did, why they bothered to keep growing plants for drugs despite the scarcity of land, well wonder no longer. Opium and hemp grow free of any taint in the Wasteland. It actually THRIVES there. There's a big market for drugs as a result where the dealers got the dope from Wasteland farms run by the brave and the stupid.
So that's what a more in depth look at London and what life in the Unhallowed Metropolis is like. It sure is fun, ain't it? Well, fear not! I'm gonna take a quick break, contemplate my interest in this game and then come back and hammer out what the rest of the world is up to and then launch into my biggest, neckbeardiest complaint about this game.
Just a reminder: I'm still on the first chapter. If you're ever legit interested in this game, good on you, find a copy and read it. There is a LOT to it and there is a lot I skipped because frankly I couldn't be bothered to give a poo poo. I'm so neck deep in worldbuilding I literally cannot remember how to play this game anymore.
NEXT TIME: The rest of these poor miserable sadsacks and I will FINALLY finish Chapter One.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 07:56|
RE: Day After Ragnarok. I do like the idea and I do like it being possibly being WWII pulp/Thundarr and if it's actually good well you bet your rear end I'll pick it up and give it a read.
It'd honestly do my mind some good to read something a bit more, I dunno, uplifting than Unhallowed Metropolis, where the vanilla game implies you're not gonna be running epic multi-game stories and you're gonna be playing in the same drat going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket city. I like how every GM's Alpha Complex is different but this... I'll admit I'm being biased as hell because I like the basic idea of Unhallowed Metropolis and it turns out absolutely different than I ever, ever wanted. And if I ever run a game it's sure as hell not gonna be vanilla, I am gonna cut and excise a ton of nonsense out of it.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 08:01|
I need sleep but London needs me more.
CHAPTER ONE: UNHALLOWED GROUND PART THREE
After the Plague, nations fell, splintered, disappeared, went kaput or managed to survive. 95% of the world as most folks in our 1906 would know it does not exist in any meaningful way anymore. During the Plague, most of the countries stopped communicating with each other on a global level, straight-up abandoned their colonies and foreign interests and now most of the world is in the dark.
But as previously mentioned the Royal Navy did in fact manage to survive the Plague and it survived well into the Reclamation. Good for them sailors. The rest of the world really can't hold a candle to the Royal Navy in 2105 but they can sure as hell try. So the big benefit of having the Navy still functioning means that the British can revisit the places they left to fend for themselves. They can reclaim lost colonies and rebuild their empire. And in doing so, the British Navy can help them rebuild to a certain degree and weather whatever hardships they face. And on top of that, royalty has managed to survive abroad! You can gently caress someone who isn't your sistercousin or brothercousin! In theory. In reality, they're all pretty much doomed to the spread of the Wastelands.
However, let's not put the cart too far in front of the horse. Let's start with the United Kingdom. The railroads are the main means of going from country to country in the UK, and they often have to clean the trains pretty hard using automated water jets because they tend to become marred with the stench and gore of the dead the moment they leave London. The trains are faster and safer and that's how everyone traverses the Wastelands, if they ever have to.
IRELAND: The Irish got over that whole "church and independence" problem when the dead rose. The fact that the army was more focused on saving England meant that Ireland got hosed quite hard and quite fast by the Blight and the Animates and now Dublin is the only hospitable city in Ireland. A session of begging for help got the Irish readmitted into the Empire and now the Catholic country is under firm British control. Supposedly people along the coast are managing to survive, and supposedly the British are ferrying scientists in and out of the Irish Wasteland for reasons unknown.
SCOTLAND: Scotland got wrecked, to be blunt. Glasgow and Aberdeen are inhabitable but nowhere else is because of the power of the Blight; it destroyed the Highlands faster and harder than the Animates ever did. Everywhere north of Glasgow is occupied by tribal ghouls who are living a happy little life for themselves and the Scottish refuse to bow to the English desire to rebuild Hadrian's Wall to keep the ghouls in because that would mean giving up the last two livable areas of Scotland.
WALES: Wales did pretty alright. The coast, mining villages and some castles managed to survive the Animates and Wales is the most habitable country now which means they get to keep their homes and live outside of London for now. As previously mentioned, they provide the coal that keep the fog running and the machines on and they're also generally the overseers of the mining penal colonies along with Deathwatch. Wales is generally getting more and more mixed racially because it's livable and not all immigrants and British want to stay in London.
NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
ICELAND: Iceland managed to survive and it managed to make friends with England. The two are now bestest buds and really they're the one alliance England has that can best be considered an actual alliance friendship. They help supply the English with oil and food,
MAINLAND EUROPE: Rule of thumb here is that if I don't mention it, it's a mostly damned mess of tribes and flailing city-states living amongst the Ghouls, Animates and Vampires. Spain gets offhandedly mentioned as having its rear end firmly kicked.
THE PRUSSIAN EMPIRE: The Prussians are one of the few groups who managed to survive and actually do well to a degree. While the English focused on building walls, the Prussians never disbanded and instead instituted fastidious cleanliness programs to deal with infection. When Kaiser Wilhelm II died holding the line in the defense of Berlin in 1907, his son Wilhelm III took over and immediately approached this from a different angle. Using an existing prototype of a zeppelin, Wilhelm III hired Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin to make the blueprints for and assemble working zeppelins. By 1916, the Prussians had their OWN strategy: orbital bombardment platform zeppelins would fly over an area, drop their ordinance and scorch the Earth, then the Prussian army would steamroll anything left standing. The Prussian Empire is a series of walled cities and walled farms being patrolled by their zeppelins and guards watching what few roads there are, and life in the air is as commonplace as life on the ground.
Airships ended up becoming the bread-and-butter of the Prussian way of life and a formidable match to Galvanic Technology (what's that? I'll cover it later when we get to America, I left it out on purpose but it's a Big Deal). The British and the Prussians keep getting into minor fights and yelling matches when it comes to the North Sea oil fields, seeing as how both need oil to power their empires and their technology. They almost went to war after a bunch of Navy ships whupped some zeppelins in a fight but cooler heads prevailed and they continue to be frenemies a hairs breadth from having passionate hate-filled sex.
But if there's one group the Prussians really hate, it's the French. See, one day the French said "hey, give us Alsace and Lorraine, this is not open to negotiation." The Prussians responded by launching a land campaign and so did the French, creating a trench war in the 1970s in continental Europe. The Prussians also decided to up the game by launching eight fully-stocked zeppelins and put them on a course for the trenches to annihilate the French from above. They told them to open fire and...nothing. The attack never came, this was the "only" battle of the war, the Prussians hastily gave Alsace-Lorraine to the French after suing for peace and to this day whenever the Prussians get scared of the French they beg the English for an alliance to destroy them.
A little digging by British agents revealed that seven of the eight warships mysteriously began opening fire on each other with full armaments as one entire ship killed themselves. Through a mixture of self-sabotage and sedition, the attack was destroyed and the survivors remembered nothing. On top of that, when reinforcements inspected the trenches, every single Prussian soldier was dead. Nothing remained but a bunch of corpses with looks of horror on their face and the rest that reanimated. And after that Prussia decided to leave France the gently caress alone. Speaking of.
FRANCE: In 1929, the French forces managed to retake Paris and re-establish the government. The ruler, Charles XI (who was of obscure blood that survived and managed to inherit the throne) immediately declared two things. One: the current government was to be abolished and replaced with an absolute monarchy where he ruled over a Council of Six, hand-picked. Two: he was no longer Charles XI, he was to be called le Roi d'Or, the Golden King. Claiming that this was a grand return to the Golden Age of France, the gendarmes took to the street, arresting and killing any opposition and any Animates that continued to live in France. All foreign diplomats were kicked out of France, and all French diplomats claimed asylum on foreign shores and refused to go home. France went silent for years, limiting interactions with the country to sailors and border guards, all of which tend to be described as gaunt, stoic men with dead eyes.
In 2105, The Golden King is still alive, a fact that tends to scare anyone talking about France. In the 1960s Charles became The Golden King for good and had all past records to the contrary destroyed. He has not aged a day and the populace of France is basically terrified of the man, and probably for good reason. France stands on the global stage and all it does is stare at everyone, slowly breathing with its mouth open as it smiles and stares. It never sends out any spies, and any spies dumb enough to enter France never returns. On top of that, nobody knows what life in France is like these days and it tends to make the politicians and royalty very, very nervous. Everyone is pretty sure the entire country and the King is in league with the Devil or something much, much worse.
But lately, France has been snatching up city-states across Spain. And the Royal Navy made the rounds in French IndoChina to find that, despite being abandoned for years, every single French colony across the world fanatically worships The Golden King, even if it's impossible for them to have ever known this. And for every bit of land they take, the Prussians get more and more insistent that England should help them stand up to the empire of The Golden King and protect the rest of the world together.
THE PAPAL STATES: During the Plague, the Vatican fled to Venice after the fall of Rome and Italy, using the canals as defense to slow down the Animates. On the plus side, it worked for them. On the downside, the Vatican is out for the blood of heretics. See, during the Plague and the banishment of the Papacy, Italy was full of whackjobs spreading their own version of God's love at knife-point. Even self-flagellation made a return and the Pope decided that just would not do. The Inquisition rose again and with a devotion from millennia in the future they retook Italy and the Papal States with sword, shield and the Word of God. And by 2077 the Pope was the most powerful man in unified Italy and began to send holy soldiers to the rest of Europe to eradicate heathens, heretics and Animates.
The big downside they face, besides being the blind militant swordsman of an angry clergyman, is that all of Italy is home to very angry, very powerful ghosts and a very high reanimation rate. Something has made Italy a hotbed of supernatural activity and they just keep fighting at home as much as much as they do overseas.
AUSTRIA: The death of Franz Joseph, the partial/almost total collapse/death of the Habsburg Dynasty and the bad decisions of Emperor Franz Ferdinand resulted in Austria's power and populace being relocated to the Adriatic Coast where the country ended up becoming lawless and corrupt. But then the leadership of Count Hotzendorf after a political marriage brought Austria back to Vienna to wage war to reclaim their capital.
At the cost of burning Vienna to the ground and getting a lot of people killed.
Franz "dies mysteriously" in 1912 and the Count takes over, rebuilding Austria back into a world power and they focus on retaking as much land as they can. Which ends up eventually putting them at odds with Prague in 2023, who whups them in a war over ownership of Prague. The sole survivors of the war were one regiment whose leader decided to throw a coup and ended up killing almost the entire royal family in their coup d'etat. As a result, Austria is a schizophrenic, splintered nation with multiple claims to ownership but is by all accounts a nice place to live except for the roaming Animates that crop up from time to time from violent political coup and terrorist attempts.
Oh, and Vienna burned to the ground again during the first coup.
PRAGUE: The Czech managed to quarantine the majority of the city ASAP during the first days of the Plague and set about reinforcing what they had then used natural barriers to their advantage when it came to clearing out Prague of the Animates. Mix in the fact that some of the smartest, keenest people were in Prague during the Plague and you end up having a nation who is always on the cutting edge of alchemy and invention, using their vast knowledge to defend themselves from attackers like the Austrians or Prussians. Prague is still doing pretty well for itself, so good for them.
THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE: They collapsed, plain and simple. As soon as the dead started walking, the Balkans threw an uprising and everyone started killing each other across the board. The Animates tore their dying empire to shreds and sent them running across the Bosphorus Strait. Also the Armenians had an uprising but nobody's heard from there in a century, so.
SWITZERLAND: The Swiss survived by retreating into the Alps and staying there for safety. They're still a neutral territory and they make a living with the global economy and intel retrieval. They're also pretty afraid that the British, Prussians, French or Papacy will force them to get involved in a war they want nothing to do with that will destroy Switzerland.
CRIMEA: The Crimeans built a wall across the Isthmus of Perekop to protect themselves from Asia and ended up repeatedly building bigger walls on top of that. Now the Crimeans are cloaked and hooded mysterious traders who sail the seas, masters of the industry of commerce and trading but tight-lipped about what they're up to and how they managed to get all of those spices and precious metals if China refuses to let anyone in.
AFRICA AND THE ORIENT:
EGYPT: For some reason, the Suez Canal is blocked. The rest of the Arabic Peninsula is empty of human life and there's reports that there might be some civilization in Jerusalem but nobody's been able to make it there. Egypt is essentially off-limits unless some die-hard explorers want to try and get through the desert.
THE REST OF AFRICA: Uh. Nobody knows. See, like I said, those colonies are abandoned (except for the French ones who love that Golden King, that rascal). Occasionally people go on expeditions into Africa to try and see what still is there. The ones who return are generally crazy and, uh.
Sorta...claim that there's a bunch of voodoo empires made up of witch doctors feeding human sacrifices to legions of enslaved dead, capturing people to feed to dark jungle gods who hunger for sacrifice and attention.
HONG KONG: Under quarantine. See, all of the Animates who were walking at the start of the Plague are still walking. And the Royal Navy just does not want to deal with that poo poo.
CHINA: Hello Englishmen. We have everything under control. The border is closed. Please do us a kindness and gently caress right off.
INDIA: Being abandoned by the British resulted in infighting between different ethnic groups and ideologies. And on top of that, India is now a hotbed of vampire activity to the extent that over 300 species of vampire make their homes in India. Nobody really wants India anymore so they just let them slowly...y'know, die.
SINGAPORE: Singapore managed to hold its in a small town nestled in its territory. When asked how they survived, they politely smiled and refused to comment on why they were not dead but thriving. As a result, a lot of Navy seamen are kind of scared of Singapore, trading with them but not trusting them, keeping them under quarantine until they can clear out the area, rebuild and get a straight answer.
NORTH AMERICA AND SOUTH AMERICA:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Washington DC was the city that managed to survive because they had lots of soldiers and lots of guns compared to civilians. The process of the American Reclamation resulted in a general shift towards state's rights, seeing as how the federal government was kinda eaten alive and the states did what they could to help their populations survive. The Northeast was retaken slowly with the help of..drum-roll please...
NIKOLA TESLA, MAKING HIS MANDATORY APPEARANCE!
Yes, Nikola Tesla, he of the lightning and coils and the shocking and the death ray. Tesla invented an electrical relay system where "aetheric energy" is broadcast into the air from coal-powered towers, removing the need for electrical cables and creating a nation where every state has at least one giant lightning machine that powers EVERYTHING that needs electricity by pumping the ambient air full of aetheric energy. In fact, thanks to Tesla helping reestablish America's communication infrastructure, America was able to reestablish communications with Britain and give them the plans for the Tesla Towers, so now Britain is full of completely wireless free energy too.
Aside from this, America is very reliant on train power to get around too and has been hit pretty hard by the Blight. Everywhere west of the Red River and Mississippi River is lost to the Wastelands and day by day Texas is getting more and more consumed, which is a problem because Texas is responsible for the majority of America's oil. As a country, America would rather play by itself and keep tending to its own needs, thanks. But they're still willing trading partners with Britain, France and Prussia and they allow travel to and from them. And seeing as how France is being all weird to everyone else except America (who has a pretty good history together with them, all things considered), Americans might be more privvy to some secrets than anyone else.
MEXICO: Is doing well. Probably. There's nothing about Mexico besides "Mexico is doing okay". So good for you, Mexico.
HAITI, CUBA, ATLANTIC ISLANDS: Willing to make contact with British and American traders but very shy and isolationist.
SOUTH AMERICA: Abandoned to the Blight and Animates. Nobody knows what the gently caress is going on down there.
CANADA: Canada survived due to having a big population that was scattered over dozens and dozens of thousands of miles. They retook what they needed to from small armies of Animates then rebuilt the railroads and came back together to politely declare freedom from British rule. Canada is implied to be doing pretty well, except for the whole "sub-Arctic" environment wreaking havoc on their desperately-in-need-of-repair rail system that might end up dooming the country if it breaks.
So that's the world. Also, please note, that Australia is not mentioned anywhere. At all. You'd think they would mention "oh we went to Australia and here's what happened" but no, gently caress poor Australia, leave all those poor Aboriginals, colonists and criminals to the fate of the Animates.
See, the neglect of Australia really sets me off. The game has a WHOLE mess of world-building for places we'll never go to, ever, because London Is The Most Important City In The World. No offense to Crimea, but in the context of this game who gives a gently caress about Crimea because all they do is be mysterious sailors. And in the first edition it was a lot worse! For starters, India and Egypt didn't get a drat mention in the slightest. Yeah, sure, they're landlocked and the land is full of the undead but come ON. It mentions that the Brits are reclaiming their empire but it doesn't mention them or Australia? Why? And when they're mentioned here they literally have three to four sentences summing them up because ultimately, yeah they're sorta important to hear about at least even if they're never gonna be traveled to. There are literally two sentences for India:
Without a powerful British presence in India, the region fragmented into a number of smaller countries dominated by rival ethnic groups. Its densely populated cities were reportedly decimated by the Plague, and India remains a haunted land where over three hundred documented species of vampire prowl the night.
"WHOOPS INFIGHTING. ALSO LOTS OF VAMPIRES." They realize that they kinda messed up world building by not including important places but then just get some kinda lazy plot hooks too. And that sounds interesting, drat it! An adventure where you're a bunch of heavily armed Brits taking on a horde of Indian vampires who do weird poo poo because they're exotic and new? That sounds cool! But this game doesn't want me to play anywhere outside of London even though LONDON IS THE LAST PLACE I WANT TO BE. Yes this world is gonna loving die and everyone is screwed and has a dark heart and blah blah blah but at least give me some freedom of choice to try to help prolong the life expectancies of other countries who aren't heavily polluted, socially-inequal, on-the-last-breath-before-death hellholes. Being set with a Victorian theme does not inherently mean I have to be only in England. I do not want to see people from other countries come and go like passing ships in the night whenever a dignitary visits.
And they're never gonna make a spin-off France or Prussia splatbook because really the mechanics and the atmosphere cannot work anywhere but London but I don't want to be in London anymore. I want to know why the hell France is so weird or if Australia got mysteriously swallowed up by the great beast Leviathan and that's why we're short a major country who should be important. That's ultimately the biggest failing of Unhallowed Metropolis. It sets up this big, sprawling unappealing meal that is all about a doomed place, gives me a fork and knife to dig in and then it teases me with things I might actually enjoy more than being a Brit in a gas mask shooting vampires but I can't play it because that's not the game. It gives me massive creative blue balls and a headache and yet...I still think about this drat game at times and how it's taunting me with a whole bunch of dirty little secrets it will never reveal to me.
So yeah, next time mechanics and poo poo.
NEXT TIME: MECHANICS AND poo poo
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 10:26 on Jan 18, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 10:17|
In regards to Russia, Scandinavia, Japan and Korea: I really don't know how much of Russia was snapped up by the Prussians, and it says absolutely nothing about the others even from a historical perspective so I have absolutely no idea what happened to those guys. Maybe the Blight corrupted them, maybe they were all eaten by Animates and angry incomprehensible alien beasts, maybe they ascended to Valhalla with Australia or something. They're "Probably hosed" and "Not Important".
Also I haven't started really talking about the Galvanic Technology which are wireless lightning guns/electric technology that harness aetheric energy floating around because of the Tesla Towers but...yeah all things considered that's pretty much the big technological breakthrough, not counting condoms that don't let you catch vampirism and all the Wondrous Alchemical Shenanigans like stuff that lets you gestate artificial life and whatever. I really don't remember dick about the game besides the setting but for now, trust me when I say there's a non-lethal handgun that when fired at someone puts the target in a state of paralytic fear to pacify them that is prone to causing strokes, psychological disorders, brain hemorrhages and death.
I'm making the condoms up but there is a whole cure for that.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 16:59|
I'm sorry if I missed it before, but how viable is living on the ocean? Are the horrible blighted areas just on dry land?
Uh. Uhhhhhhh. That's...a pretty good question! The Royal Navy is pretty much doing okay, I guess, but at the end of the day they need metal to repair their ships and coal and oil to power their engines. Ship upkeep is kind of a giant pain in the rear end at the end of the day, especially when the places you can safely tread on the Earth are diminishing daily and it gets harder and harder to get wood, ore and coal. There's also the matter of growing and making food at sea which would probably require a whole lot of dirt and something to help desalinate the water.
And the book really doesn't go into this possibility because, y'know, why the hell would you not want to live in London. But this is my theoretical assumption that a big enough flotilla with enough technology to sustain themselves as an agricultural village at sea and raise scop in a tank for animal proteins would probably do pretty well! Animates can't swim, there's nowhere for Vampires to hide from the sun besides below decks and Thropes and Anathemas probably would go nowhere near the Navy. In theory they might do kinda okay for themselves. Maybe. It's absolutely mum on what the Blight is like on the 70% of the world covered in saltwater and if there are, like, water expanses of Wastelands because the ocean is not London.
Also another aside to mention: I don't know how badly polluted the rest of the world is, just England. For all I know all that smog and acid rain is really just centralized there and the rest of the world has to deal with some of the effects but they still get to see the sun on a daily basis.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 18:26|
Just go for it man. You and I can play Good Cop, Gas-Masked Oppressor Cop. I'd like to see you finish it, it really is pretty neat.
And Australia is doing well enough to make up for it not being mentioned in UM.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 19:55 on Jan 18, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2014 19:52|
Please tell me this game has Knowledge: Thesaurus that you can take that allows you dice bonuses depending on your skill level and amount of adjectives you can cram in a sentence.
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2014 00:25|
Alright. I'm recharged, I'm ready to talk some more about Unhallowed Metropolis and I hope y'all are ready to hear about what kind of characters you can make. So without further ado, London beckons.
CHAPTER TWO: PLAYING GOD (or A TREATISE ON THE NEO-VICTORIAN AND HOW THEY ARE TRULY SCREWED)
PART ONE: BASIC CHARACTER CREATION AND CORRUPTION
Unhallowed Metropolis wants you to have a character you can step into and role-play and empathize with. I would assume if your players break down weeping because their characters are faced with the shadow of death and failure then you've got the right players for this. Or don't make a character you like. Whatever. Unhallowed Metropolis isn't the boss of you. Just enjoy London.
Character creation isn't particularly hard and I'll outline the basic framework before I get technical.
CORRUPTION: Corruption stems from
There's also Devil's Luck. Devil's Luck can be invoked once per session and what it does is it forces the GM to pull your certainly-doomed rear end out of the fire so you can live to fight another day. Invoking Devil's Luck, however, invites the GM to give you a touch of karma for your action, rough you up in the escape and add another point to your Corruption Track.
So how else can you gain Corruption? Repeated exposure and repeatedly doing certain things in game can result in it being assigned to you. Say you keep doing heroin in game. Eventually your rear end is gonna be Addicted to Heroin, yeah? You can gain multiple Corruption Tracks this way. Or you can do something bad, something so bad the GM punishes you with it. GM punishment can't raise your tracks past 3, though, and it raises it 1 point per Track.
It's also advised that the GM tries to tempt you with your Corruptions, but some of them probably won't come up in game unless they throw things intentionally your way. It also doesn't totally make sense for you to raise some of your Corruption through doing stuff in game. Like, killing children would result in raising your Killer Instinct. How the heck are you supposed to raise your Monstrous Corruption or your Cursed Corruption? It's a good idea but it's not executed particularly well.
You also have the option to redeem yourself and lower your corruptions. Every attempt needs to be roleplayed and requires you to take efforts to behave yourself for a number of sessions equal to the number you want to reduce. You also can't spend any Second Chances during redemption and must declare you're redeeming yourself step by step. Physical corruption can be redeemed through abstinence, exercise, therapy and surgery. Beating physical corruption requires help from others and coming to terms with what's happening to yourself. Reducing desire requires abstinence and might need to involve isolation, meditation and religion. This requires your friends to leave you alone to handle it and work it out by yourself. To lower drive, you have to try to life a healthy, better life. You have to sleep better, live better and not obsess on things and friends and family should help them keep their minds off work.
Like I said, this requires multiple campaigns. Most of these rules don't really apply if you're doing one-shots or small campaigns and unless your GM is pulling some punches and trying to keep a long-term thing going, a bullet or a claw through an artery is gonna kill you before you can become a better person.
But that's London for you.
NEXT TIME: Character classes, assets, stats and skills.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 07:56 on Jan 20, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2014 03:02|
I say this thread needs a little more positivity. So Ehdrigor.
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2014 03:45|
I have the feeling the Shmekblut got their name when one of them was talking about "how he really vanted to shmack zat butt, ha ha ha" and they couldn't understand the Dracula accent.
Seriously, why would you basically name a species "smack butt".
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2014 15:45|
Escaped Russian psychic gunslinger ambling about the Mojave Desert, trying to outrun Nazis who want him for his SPECIAL BRAIN.
Also someone said London three times so you know what that means. LIVE FROM AUSTRALIA, IT'S...
CHAPTER TWO: PART TWO (or ASSHOLES, ASSHOLES, ASSHOLES AND THE DOOMED)
Okay, so Callings. Let's start with callings. Callings are classes, every calling gets some little aspects (called Features) that let them customize what it is they do appropriate to what the characters want. The Callings are Aristocrat, Criminal, Deathwatch Soldier, Detective, Dhampir Vampire Hunter, Doctor, Mourner, Undertaker.
ARISTOCRATS: Aristrocrats are rich! Aristocrats tend to get better learning or eclectic learning from multiple tutors and they get class bonuses from the Etiquette skill. Their Features are Blue Blood which means you can call on familiar or friendly relationships to get doors open for them (just don't be a dick about it) and Deference which means if you do some bad poo poo in front of people like the cops, so long as you are nice to the cops about it and display that you're an Aristocrat you can get away with certain things.
The other Feature they get is Intrigant. It has different stat bonuses and for every level in Etiquette they get another one they can select.
CRIMINALS: You live by being, uh, a criminal. You get the Feature Flash Thief which means that you get to pick an amount of bonus stats based on your Streetwise level.
DEATHWATCH SOLDIER: Join Deathwatch! See people! Shoot people! Shoot lots of people! Burn their houses to the ground! Go back to base, exercise until you can't feel anymore and cry yourself to sleep in your bunk! There's an available Quality and Impediment related to being in Deathwatch. The Quality is being in the Deathwatch Rifle Brigade, a prestigious team of marksman soldiers who excel at sniping. The Impediment is being in the Penal Corps, which means you're an expendable crook not given the full benefit of their training and loyalty programs. You get three Features. Familiarity: Animate means you never have to make a fear test face to face with Animates, Plague Resistance gives you +2 to fight off and avoid The Plague and you also get Military Training which gives you bonuses based on Survival.
DETECTIVE: Law is the necessary fist that squeezes crime out of the city. Something something metaphor. You can be associated with the cops or not. Either way you're a private dick with a gun, a mask, a duster and penchant for asking questions to crooks. Your Feature is Investigator, which gives you bonuses based on Forensic Science.
DHAMPIR VAMPIRE HUNTER: Goddamn you better ready to be a pretty, nimble, fey motherfucker. I mean that, the book calls you tragic, romantic anti-heroes. Basically you managed to catch Vampirism somehow but you overcame it. Good news is you're not a vampire and people think that's awesome and you're interesting so come to this high-society party and do cocaine off tits with me. Bad news is you're a Dhampir. Dhampirs are half-lifers like ghouls, love the taste of blood and get some trippy vampire powers powered by blood even though it's YOUR CURSE and you really shouldn't drink the stuff. When we get to Vampires, I'll explain what some of these bonuses mean. Dhampirs get Alien Grace, Blood Drinker, Half Lifer, Hatred of Vampires, Heightened Vision, Immune to Vampiric Mind Control, Sense Undead, Unnatural Passions, Vampiric Transformation. Your big Feature is Blood Legacy, meaning leveling the Concentration skill lets you use other vampire powers at a lower level to help you out.
DOCTOR: Be a goddamn doctor in anything you want. Nothing is off limits and it's actually expected that you learn multiple fields of science and medicine. Because let's face it: a lot of people are dying and the more that die means the less people can specialize in poo poo. Be a chemist, be a reanimator, be a philosopher, be all three. Your main Feature is Black Bag, based on your Medicine skill.
MOURNER: You're trained to kill with knives and you're very good at it. Mourners are also bodyguards of the rich and famous and a Mourner tends to become a family attachment, keeping watch over the family members living or dead. You're basically an exemplar of purity, loyalty and duty and you must keep quiet with a stiff upper lip at all times. It's a hard, lonely life as a Mourner. Her main features are Exculpus Mastery (their trademark weapons), Familiarity: Animate and Guild Training which depends on her Concentration.
Undertaker: You decided to kill for a living for your own reasons. Money, to help the weak, money, kicked out of Deathwatch, because you were broke, money money money. Undertakers are freelance monster killers and shitkickers who almost always start work as boisterous, eager young folks bragging about their conquests who quickly become quiet, callous and efficient. London is miserable and steeped in death like a tea bag in a cup, and the people who know that as much as Criminals are Undertakers. Undertakers have Familiarity-Animates, Plague Resistance, Tough (which doesn't inflict any hindrances for being Seriously Wounded and can remain awake when Incapacitated) and Monster Hunter which depends on Survival.
There are also rules for Custom Characters. In a nutshell: limited skills, limited features, limited qualities, point-buy. Translation: custom characters tend to suck hard.
So those are the different callings. In any other game, or under less bleak circumstances, I might be so inclined to think that some of these guys are awesome or fun to play. And I'll be honest: don't ask me if they're balanced or not because I really don't know. But we're getting close to the end of character creation, so next time I'll talk about skills and attributes and things that help or hinder you.
NEXT TIME: FINISHING CHARACTER CREATION
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 09:52 on Jan 20, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2014 09:37|
AFMBE is in fact a much, much better thing to run this kind of campaign in. Matter of fact, one of my favorite campaign settings they officially released is "Frankenstein: 1935". Dr. Frankenstein is recruited to the colleges of London instead of dying on a ship trapped in the ice, he refines his serum to bring back the dead, the Victorian Age continues into 1935 using patchwork zombie labor that require blood to keep going. The serum brings people back from the dead perfectly if administered like five minutes after death or destroys their reasoning and personality the longer they wait, so they use it on eight-hour-old corpses to make sure they're dumb enough to follow commands. The British Empire gives citizens who donate blood to feed the zombies money in return. London has become too reliant on using the undead for industry and policing China, India and other countries they have control over, so the Empire is starting to come apart at the seams due to being too unwieldy and unsustainable because the dead slaves outnumber the living. On top of that, other countries want to steal the reanimation serum for themselves or bring down the British Empire because they see them as an easy topple like the Roman Empire in the 6th century or they're scared of them. Plot hooks involve playing undead who came back to life with their memories scrambled or missing but you're smarter than the rest, being foreign agents trying to extract a (self-loathing) Dr. Frankenstein from England or just steal the secrets, or any other idea you want.
That whole campaign setting? Four pages, includes stats for the zombies, includes plot hooks and minor tidbits of other ideas for you to run a campaign in it. And I think it's cool as hell because it tells me how the world is and lets me tweak things appropriately and make my own game on top of the existing material. That, honestly, is doing it right.
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2014 16:48|
A Manual of Ambition was an...interesting read, to say the least. A game where you have a project to do and can keep getting more and more corrupt in body, mind and soul by deviating from the more noble goals of the project would be interesting, especially in UM. I didn't wholly understand the rules for it, though, and if you were to put those rules into UM I'm pretty sure you'd just bore your players to death. Interesting but needs heavy polish and also should probably be run separate.
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2014 18:25|
Actual changes between editions: it turns out the original edition only had six Callings. The revised edition added Deathwatch Soldier and Detective to the list. Other changes of note: Dhampirs didn't have multiple features that depended on the level of a skill, they just had trippy vampire benefits. Guild Training for Mourners were set benefits and they also had Meditations which let the Mourner sit perfectly still and motionless for up to three days so you could actually roll to do a vigil over a corpse/win a staring contest. You could select some of the Exculpus bonuses under Exculpus Mastery. The others that do have selectable bonuses also had much less to offer. Undertakers didn't have a wealth level, lived in tiny rundown flats and they had landlords that were terrified of them. So once upon a time you could be The Soldier as portrayed in TF2's comics.
To their credit, they acknowledge that anarchic terrorism stemmed from socialists and labor movements and the like and really started in the middle 21st century when Parliament started undoing a lot of labor laws and removing social service laws. The terrorists of London today grew up with constant food riots, police crackdowns and Plague outbreaks where even the healthy are killed. As a result they're mostly people who have seen horror and think that life isn't worth living anymore or think that they're sane in the face of institutionalized madness so you should force change by killing Parliament. Either way it's devolved from being about issues and the rights of man to thinking terrorism is a hammer and everything is a nail.
Halloween Jack posted:
The writers of Victoriana also just put down the history books when they came upon the subject of anarchy, and decided that the "Nihilists" really were nihilists who wanted to blow everything up and loot and rape what was left. It's almost as if steampunk geeks are a lot of servile petty bourgeoisie.
I dunno about you, but I feel like an rear end in a top hat right about now.
CHAPTER TWO: PART THREE (SKILLS, QUALITIES, ETC.)
So your Attributes are Vitality, Coordination, Wit, Intellect, Will, Charm, Prowess. Or Strength/Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma and Combat Modifiers. Some of your Attribute levels are hindered by your age.
And then there are Skills. The game advises you be creative with their uses. Don't tell me what to do, game! Having a 5 in a Skill is generally the human threshold but you can have up to 6 if you beg your GM or have the Qualities that let you.
WEALTH: Your Wealth stat is just a general reflection of your quality of living and if you ever need to scare up some extra cash then this is what you can expect to find.
Ran out of drawn art for this chapter so I'm dipping into the live-action women with goggles and corsets vault.
QUALITIES AND IMPEDIMENTS: You can have 20 points of Impediments and Qualities have costs that you can spend Custom Points on. I'll list them down here by Qualities and Impediments.
So that's a hell of a thing to end on, huh? Eating animals that ate animals that ate animals that ate animals. So how do you improve characters? Well you get 1 point playing, extra points for doing well, 1-2 for participating in major events, 1 point for the conclusion of a scenario and extra points for doing a really good job. Pretty standard stuff. The prices are located in the box above and maybe you can get free levels in things during play if you need them the most or do a very good job. I'll admit, I'm not the best GM when it comes to handing out EXP, but this strikes me as pretty similar for stuff like nWoD.
So those are all the steps and aspects of character creation you need to make an actual character. I asked some of my friends for character ideas and I'm gonna do a mock-up of character creation to put it all together next time. Thanks for sticking around to see me draw it these chapters, and believe me when I say I'm condensing stuff. Right now I'm 155 pages in out of 338 and all that has been backstory, world building and character creation. I haven't even gotten to the rules of gameplay yet. Oh well. When I get there, I'll get there.
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 02:46 on Jan 21, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2014 23:14|
They actually have a quote from Renfield so good catch there. Doesn't make it any less ridiculous and dumb to take.
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2014 23:46|
Gigantism: You're bigger and stronger than most men and you can have up to Vitality 6. The big downside is that your lifespan is halved because of the extra amount of stress it puts on your body, you need to eat more than most people, you need a tailor to fit you and you cannot take anti-aging drugs.
Strong Man: You're BUFF. When it comes to carrying things or feats of strength, you get +1 Vitality to the roll.
So yeah, you can take them both together. You can also be a Mourner with Able Bodied and Focused Healing and know a Doctor with Healer so you can heal from issues in 1/8th the time most people would take, although admittedly that depends on damage and all the ways different wounds heal.
|# ¿ Jan 21, 2014 00:21|
dwarf74, just so long as the mechanics are not literally more than halfway into the book, don't sweat it, just take it step by step.
|# ¿ Jan 22, 2014 04:41|
I'm just waiting on this aforementioned Candy Land Magic.
|# ¿ Jan 22, 2014 16:01|
Holy poo poo that picture. I thought that was a pigman before I realized it was BDSM Cat Slave Dale Gribble.
Whoever gave that guy direction for that picture did not do a good job asking for "sexy".
|# ¿ Jan 23, 2014 06:53|
|# ¿ Sep 26, 2021 22:42|
Yeah if the fact that the first half of the book was solely back-story, world fluff and how to make a character wasn't clear, UM is not a game that demands a lot of dice-based attention. It is, however, gonna make it really hard to heal your drat character without the help of a Doctor. It's a real stickler for "realism", you see. This is a game where Gigantism is a benefit and a curse and Albinism is a straight-up curse. A lot of other games would let you say that you have tuberculosis as part of your latent Illness Corruption but this game actually lets you take Consumptive as an Impediment because yeah why not make sure your character is gonna die.
So without further hacking, coughing and wheezing, here's Unhallowed Metropolis.
CHAPTER THREE: THE FORMULA (or LONDON SUCKS, THEN YOU DIE)
So I sure hope you have some d10s because that's what you need. ATTRIBUTES AND SKILL ROLLS are really, really easy. Roll 2d10, add the relevant Attribute or Skill. Beat the Difficulty Rating? Congrats, you succeeded. Didn't? Whoops failure. The GM is encouraged to set the DR themselves and add modifiers as appropriate. A common one is "you can do the job in half the time at -2 penalty" or "you're in bad conditions to do this, -x modifier" or "you took the time to do this properly, +y modifier".
You automatically fail impossible tasks because, uh, they're impossible. This is a common sense thing and depends on what you're trying to attempt. An example:
SIMPLE TASK: Buying cocaine from your dealer friend Sampson.
MODERATE TASK: Making your own cocaine because Sampson ran out.
COMPLEX TASK: Convincing a policeman to let you go because you tried to sell him cocaine, idiot.
HARD TASK: Getting a guard to let you into a higher society party so you can sell your cocaine to aristocrats.
VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK: Convincing Princess Lotte of Prussia to do cocaine with you because sex is better high.
IMPOSSIBLE TASK: Convincing her mom, Queen Nadja, to join you.
Failures depend on what it is you're doing. In that previous (intentionally dumb) example, you could blow up your lab, get arrested and sent to jail, get the guard mad enough to detain you, anger a Prussian princess into calling her guards or probably being straight-up kidnapped and executed. Sometimes failure means you have to look in another library for that book, sometimes failure means you didn't defuse that anarchist's bomb and now there's a bunch of police gibs raining from the sky. Failure also might make success increasingly harder and unlikely in future attempts: that party guard is gonna remember that you're the dickhead who only tried to slip him a couple of shillings to get you in so you better be a hell of a lot more persuasive.
On that note, CONTESTED ROLLS are pretty easy: you both roll 2d10+modifiers, higher number wins, no DR involved.
There's also CRITICAL SUCCESS and CRITICAL FAILURES which come from Snake Eyes and Double Tens respectively. Both should be memorable in their own ways.
ATTRIBUTES IN PLAY
The number written on your sheet is your Base Attribute, which means you can take a whole bunch of drugs to get temporary super strength, or you can get shot repeatedly in the chest with a revolver, but one way or another your Vitality is gonna return to the number on your sheet. In the meantime, though, you use that modified number until you're your normal self again.
VITALITY gets some bonus abilities depending on level. 1 is weakling, 2 is normal, 3 is exercised and fit, 4 is BUFF, 5 is BUFF, 6 is SUPERNATURALLY RIPPED, 7 is AN AFFRONT TO THE GODS OF MUSCLES. Anyone can dead lift but you need to have 3 to be able to kick in doors and 5 to be able to bend bars with your bare hands. And more maybe! Seriously, there's some leeway for the GM to let exceptionally buff characters do strong things.
COORDINATION handles climbing and falling. You can fall Coordination x 3 and not get hurt but every 3 feet extra adds +1 damage to a damage roll. What's a damage roll? We'll see in a bit. Coordination also handles leaping.
WIT can be rolled for Perception which really is the same catch-all HEY YOU NOTICE THIS IMPORTANT THING roll.
INTELLECT handles general knowledge and research.
WILL is necessary for Fear Rolls. Fear Rolls are always Everyone's Favorite Thing Ever because oh boy do I love my character being forced to do stuff. Failing a fear roll gives you -1 to all skill rolls while you're within range of the thing freaking you out and you have to make another fear roll. Pass that and you stand and st-st-stutter and shake like it's Scooby Doo. Fail and you run for it and then you have to keep making Will rolls to stop running aimlessly away from danger (and if the GM is a dick into other sources of danger).
CHARM has Credibility and Guile and Intimidation and those are pretty much what they sound like. I could stand here and explain to you that Credibility is all about convincing people that you are doing/can do/am/am not certain things and it depends on how convincing you are and if you have the walk to back up the talk but gently caress that because after this section is COMBAT.
COMBAT: Hey so fighting hurts and kills people easy. So you need to be quick and you need to be accurate. INITIATIVE is determined by rolling 2d10 and adding your Prowess to it. Your Prowess gives you a variable bunch of actions you can make per round and your turn is over when you make all of your actions. Highest Initiative goes first, if tied the character with a higher Coordination goes first. This order doesn't change. There are also SURPRISE ATTACKS which is when someone says I ATTACK before combat is officially declared. You resolve the attack before it initiative is rolled.
For example: Lord Humphrey is challenged to a duel by Baron Reynolds and frankly Humphrey just cannot be assed to deal with this poo poo because Reynolds is just a dick and needs to be taken down a peg. So, on the dueling grounds, Humphrey's player rolls to attack before the GM asks for an initiative to roll for the duel, casually shoots Reynolds in the leg and smacks him in the face with his glove for good measure (although now Humphrey is gonna get some flak for being dishonorable).
So in combat you can hold an action, which means you can reserve some extra actions (if you have them) to immediately respond to something. Like say being shot at and using the held action to return fire or dive for cover. You have to announce that you're holding an action and you also can't use it to interrupt an action. You can use it to run away from the anarchist with a bomb, but you can't shoot the bomb in his hand before he throws it as he throws it.
To attack, roll 2d10 and add the appropriate skill to it. Unaware (or should I say Flatfooted) targets have a DR of 11 to hit, aware have 11+Coordination+relevant GM/action modifiers to hit. Man they really did crib quite a bit from D&D for this. Beat the DR and it hits. Oh and offhand weapons are -3 to hit because y'know D&D. Remember that your Combat Skills can have modifying Combat Stunts depending on what level they are. Critical Successes are relative to the attack, Critical Failures are too (but they do recommend accidentally shooting an ally or something).
Movement: moving costs an action. Running forfeits all actions and lets you run Coordination x 10 feet. You can take Evasive Action which is really just running fast and weaving but it forfeits all future actions. If you're attacked and have held actions/have not had your turn, you can parry or dodge thrown weapons or melee attacks.
Melee: 2d10+Vitality to do damage, plus or minus modifiers depending on where you hit and what you're using, then subtract relevant armor. That amount determines the kind of wound the character suffers and we'll get to that later because you really need to know right now that Improvised Melee weapons have -2 to hit or parry. However a solid blow to the head with one has a good chance of causing a Serious Wound or knockout. Unarmed attacks also require 2d10+Vitality and include Biting (-5 to hit if not grappling), Kicking (+3 to kick legs, -8 to kick someone in the head/-3 damage unless target is prone), and Punches (nothing special for punches). Kicks and punches have a higher risk of doing Serious damage to someone's head and knocking them out.
There are also GRAPPLE RULES which amounts to: roll Unarmed Combat+2d10. If it hits, they are grappled. A max of five people can grapple one person at once, make a Vitality+Unarmed Combat+2d10 contested roll to escape a grapple. You can choose to pin someone or strangle them to death, it's up to you and both have rules that amount to "make an action to do that, roll to do that, see if you did that". Using them as a human shield is different because you can just automatically do that.
Ranged: roll 2d10 and add the weapon damage and modifiers to an attack, only add Vitality if it's a thrown weapon, then remove armor. You can throw a balanced (meant to be thrown) weapon Vitality x 10 feet or unbalanced (anything else) Vitality x 6. There are modifiers, see the chart, it's nothing special. But you know what is special?
Getting shot in the head/vital squishy bits adds +5 damage to an attack. Hands or feet adds -3. For everything else there's no modifier. You only suffer the penalties of your greatest wound and they don't add up unless there's Complications (to be explained). Tracking health and wounds is...weird and kinda different. It's not like D&D's hitpoints, it's not like nWoD's damage track. If you suffer a Fatal Wound, you die. If your Vitality is reduced to below zero from multiple wounds or injuries or circumstances, you die. If you have enough Incapacitating Wounds that are untreated equal to your base Vitality score, you die.
COMPLICATIONS: Hoo doggy. So Incapacitating Wounds are a pain in the rear end because they leave behind long-term effects that kick in when the wound is treated. You roll on a chart depending on where you've been wounded. Sometimes they happen automatically depending on what happens, like a man with a bat breaking your knees. Basically the best way to handle a Complication is to see a doctor immediately and do your best to get what you need fixed. And even then actual medicine is gonna disable your character for a spell depending on the damage done. I'm gonna share these because they can range from minor issues to "whoops your arm is gone".
So with that, here's what happens if you get hit in the head too hard.
Getting treated in a shithole by anyone who doesn't have Field Medic training results in them having -3 to treatment rolls.
So that's what it's like to get your rear end kicked in London. My apologies for the general lack of actual art and if I was too long-winded or blathering. That's the majority of the chapter done with a bit more to come and then that's all the mechanics done. And then we can move onto the real fun, like monster rules and big ol' tables of equipment! Oh I can hardly contain my excitement.
NEXT TIME: LIMB TRANSPLANTS, CONCUSSIONS, GETTING SET ON FIRE, DROWNING, BREATHING PURE SMOG AND MORE FUN THINGS TO DO IN LONDON
Hostile V fucked around with this message at 00:57 on Jan 24, 2014
|# ¿ Jan 24, 2014 00:50|