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open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

MJ12 posted:

Terminator rules for PATROL when?

Play a killer robot fighting the Tech-Com insurgency. Contemplate the fact that no matter how good you are at killing-and you are very good- you are still losing the war.

Well, or rather, you would contemplate this fact but your CPU was set to read-only and you can't.

Just for you, I'll write that right now.

I have a lot of PATROL expansions I want to do. I do want to try my hand at WWII stuff, but it's a huge topic that'd require multiple books. In terms of pop culture stuff, in addition to Star Wars I'd love to do something about being Imperial Guard (i've written up the basics of that one already, leaning towards a harder-science, earlier 40k vibe), and a Wolfenstein: The New Order thing.

open_sketchbook fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Sep 26, 2017

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MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



open_sketchbook posted:

I had actually been working on something like that, but I scrapped it because I couldn't work in enough content. The US special forces alt rules do indeed let you take multiple MOS.

I have been working, slowly, on a modern warfare expansion, but it's rough. I don't have the luxury of decades of cultural introspection and history to draw on; a lot information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still too bound up in political bullshit. I generally prefer deriving from first-hand sources and memoirs (I read a lot of books for PATROL and most were autobiographical or gonzo in some way), and that'd be easy, except there's a whole cottage industry of Iraq war "memoirs" of dubious validity or overt pro-war posturing which has only accelerated since American Sniper. It'll take a few decades to shake out which have lasting value. Also, the wars are literally still happening, which makes it very raw, and makes me very nervous how I approach it. It's also difficult to nail down a theme because Afghanistan and Iraq are such different wars.

The rules for the book are actually well laid out, because it's mostly just character creation and equipment changes. Probably the biggest meaningful change is that coalition soldiers are effectively a lot tougher than their Vietnam counterparts, especially as the war drags on and body armour gets much, much better. Your advantage over the Taliban and Iraqi insurgency is hilariously one-sided and most of the threats are passive, so the game would have to revolve a lot around dealing with civilians and grappling with how little good you're often doing, especially when your presence draws violence that undoes trust and infrastructure work. That implies some long-term campaign framework stuff that I sort of have sketched out, but then I have to get into researching a lot of local cultural stuff and bleeeh.

More seriously I think the best theme for Patrol: 2017 is... fatigue, in a way, like what PATROL does for the Vietnam War. You're in this long, grinding forever war where you might be able to do some good but all that stuff is temporary and you're not sure when it will ever end. In a way the better body armor and trauma medicine and prosthetics just add to that feeling. Things which would end your military career in PATROL you might well just walk off in Patrol: 2017. You are stuck in this purgatory, and you're never getting out.

This applies to both Iraq and Afghanistan to some extent and is relatively neutral.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Fun fact: the Afghanistan War is still going. In a few months it will be eligible for a driver's license.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 20b: As Above, So Below

As stated last time, the Land Below extends caves up to the surface of the world. As people learn of them, expeditions start becoming more common as everyone tries to figure out where this giant cave network came from and where it leads. The first chapter of the book, The Caverns of Earth, discusses how people go about this and what they find before they hit the Hollow Earth stuff.

quote:

Players will undoubtedly explore the tunnels for a variety of reasons (concocted by the gamemaster). The tunnel network serves as a means of entering protected areas in other realms, discovering new races that are potential allies against the High Lords, or spoiling the schemes of the High Lords as they attempt to use the tunnels for their own dark purposes. Simply exploring the tunnels leads to a host of challenges for the players, and preparing for an underground scenario requires some special consideration from the gamemaster.
What that means is we're going to get a few pages about spelunking. Or at least, spelunking of the "how do I find a cave?" level. There's a brief rundown of actual cave types (limestone, shore, or volcanic), how the GM can present caves or make finding a cave in the first place interesting, and how to get the PCs interested in this whole "going into caves" thing in the first place.

(In case you're wondering, the top two ways to get the party interested are "someone hires them to go into the cave" and "something's stolen and taken into a cave".)

The next section is about hazards, specifically natural hazards, but is shockingly very vague about the details of the types of things that you can run into while spelunking. So yes, it mentions problems like how easy it is to get lost, running into pockets of natural gas, the threat of cave-ins, but we don't get any mechanics or anything for them. They're just listed as Things That Could Happen and I guess it's up to the GM to hash out the details. The only real "new" threat is the Reality Warp, which is just a very concentrated reality storm that can last for a few days.

The next section is about Core Earth's caves. Or, to be more specific, about the inhabitants of the caves.

quote:

Many species of flora and fauna have taken up residence in the tunnel network, including a wide assortment of lower life forms such as phosphorescent fungi, bats, rodents, worms, and lizards. While many of the creatures have migrated from the surface, a large number of creatures have entered the Earth from the Land Below by use of the dimthreads.
This is an awkward way to say that there are now strange cryptid-style creatures all under Core Earth's surface and part of Core Earth's reality. There's no real explanation as to why these things exist apart from "they dimthreaded in, maybe, I guess?"

quote:

Most of the deep-earth creatures are amphibious and hunt in both the tunnels and lake caverns. They are tremendously varied in size and shape, with some being slug-like, other bipedal, and still others having a dozen limbs. Research scientists have found it impossible to catalogue these creatures because of the sparsity of data. Specific species have yet to be identified because no one has seen more than one example of any given creature. A "fringe" theory suggests that all of the creatures are evolved from the same set of genetic material, but each individual evolves appendages and tools appropriate to its environment. The most alarming constants between all of these creatures are a gigantic maw, lined with rows of teeth, and the reckless, frenzied approach to bringing down prey.
Sadly, only two of these varied creatures are described: Baggers, which are ape-like frog creatures; and Molemen, who are...uh...molemen. Who can shapeshift.

quote:

The molemen are a race of shapechangers who are believed to have entered Core Earth tunnels from Orrorsh. However, the race quickly spread throughout the planet and the Land Below. The race forms communities varying in size from twenty to a thousand individuals.
And that's it for Core Earth stuff! What, you wanted details on stuff that might be actually interesting?

But we do have some actual interesting things to talk about, because this is where we get to the actual interesting (and thus underused) concept of the Land Below: the underworlds.

As stated before, each realm (except Tharkold, which actually came out after this book) has tunnels connecting them to the Land Below. And where the Land Below intersects with the realms, the tunnels take on aspects of that realm's idea of an "underworld".

Sort of. Shockingly, these underworlds aren't very consistent in what they represent. For some of the realms, they're capital-U Underworlds, based on the realm's idea of a Hell. For others, it's not. Each realm does get at least two new critters to run into, but really each of these underworlds barely gets a page of content.

That said, let's see what these underworlds are like.

The Nile Empire has dozens of entrances to the tunnels, which isn't surprising given that Mobius uses the Land Below for troop and goods transport. One of the major connections is actually deep in the sewers under Cairo. The book states that "The most accessible entrance to the Land Below is in a cavern of the Land of the Dead (see The Pharaoh's Network)," but there's no section in the book called "The Pharaoah's Network" Jesus Christ did anyone actually edit these books?

The reason I'm mad about this is because there is no information about the Land of the Dead in the loving book. Is it actually populated with the souls of the damned? Do the Egyptian gods hang out down there? Are the Scales of Truth down there? You got me! All we get here is a pointless description of ancient Egyptian beliefs, then two new monsters. And just to show you how awkwardly this information is presented, here's the context:

quote:

The Kefertiri Idol often constructs temporary cavern entrances to snatch particularly troublesome Storm Knights and Ords. These entrances seem to appear from nowhere: the offending characters walk over a seemingly solid patch of ground only to find that it collapses beneath them.

Possessing little knowledge of the true nature of the world, the ancient Egyptians of Earth did as many other ancient peoples - they made up stories to explain natural phenomena beyond their ken.

For example, to the Egyptians, the sun was not a sphere many hundred times the size of the Earth. Instead, it was a much smaller ball, albeit one that glowed brightly. When the sun "set" at night, the Egyptians believed that it actually passed through a great tunnel beneath the sands of Egypt so that it could "rise" on the other side of their land the next morning.

Historically, vast complexes of caverns that sat on top of the sun's tunnel housed much of the Egyptian Underworld. These are the stories in the Nile Empire that have helped spawn the miles and miles of tunnels and caverns beneath Egypt. Certainly, the pulp fiction elements ofthe realm are inherent in this area as well, but primarily the caverns have come to resemble the Egyptian Underworld of legend. Most creatures within the caves prowl the entire region, so Storm Knights should proceed with great care.
Anyway, the two creatures described are Busus, which are demonic entities that have the body of a hippo, the legs of a lion, and the head and tail of a crocodile; and "Invisible Men", because there's an entire society of invisible people living in the caves for some undefined reason.

And that's pretty much it for the Nile Empire caves! Well, there's a bit later on when we get to the main Land Below realm, but yeah, that's pretty much it.

Exciting, huh?

The caves below the Living Land also directly connect to Merretika, and like the Nile Empire there are hundreds of entrances to the tunnels on the surface, with the largest being at Lake Michigan. The Living Land's caves all appear to be natural caverns, full of moss, dripping sounds, and pools of water that aren't as shallow as they look. The caves are inhabited by all kinds of different creatures, from giant insects to man-eating plants to regular edeinos patrols. The last one there is because Kaah has realized the strategic potential of the caves, and uses them to move troops and gospog around his territory beyond the prying eyes of the US Military.

Again, we get two new creatures. Corpul are spherical floating critters that feed off explosive gases. They're actually harmless in a general sense; at the first sign of a threat they propel themselves away via farting stored gas. In a more specific sense, they're dangerous because they're big bags of explosive gas that will go up when attacked.

The other species that's been cropping up in the caves are the ustanah. Those of you with very good memeories will recognize this name (although even then it's unlikely) from the Living Land sourcebook. The ustanah were the mantis-like "advanced" species that inhabited the edeinos' world and were wiped out ages before Kaah rose to power. Nobody knows if these are the actual ancient race come back from the dead, or a completely new race that just happens to look the same; while they're clearly intelligent, nothing's known about their society. They're clearly tool users, have a spoken language, and some sort of social structure, but beyond that all encounters with the ustanah (with one notable exception of a National Guardsman) so far have been violent.

That's a pretty cool idea, huh? A race thought extinct reappearing under the lands of the race that wiped them out? Too bad that's the last this is discussed! Time to move on!

The tunnels under Paris present a very interesting problem for the Cyberpapacy. For starters, the existing Parisian tunnels are a constant battleground between the city's many gangs, members of La Résistance, and the Church Police. Then, on top of all that, the caves have worked their way up to connect to the tunnels. The caves have been affected by the beliefs of the realm, and have transformed from the usual natural caverns into the Inferno: the common view of Hell.

And it is indeed what most of us probably imagine when I say "Hell". Rivers of lava, flame pits, walls of fire, and both "traditional" and cyber-enhanced demons.

quote:

The presence of the Inferno has become a well known folk-tale. The Church has pronounced that the Inferno is part of a demonic plot to take over France, but spies report that Malreaux is pleased that his subjects have such a vivid reminder of what happens to heretics when they die.
The appearance of the Inferno has been both a gift and a curse to the Cyberchurch. On the plus side, it's a location that the Church higher-ups can point and and say "This is the punishment that awaits sinners! You can't deny its existence, it's right there!" On the downside, they're not doing a great job containing it; demons of various stripes have been entering the realm and running rampant throughout France.

Two types of demons are stated up. One type is the swarmer, and they're your cartoonishly stereotypical demon; red skin, horns, tail. Where they differ from the popular conception of demons is that they're chock full of nanotech they use to infect targets.

quote:

One hand of the demon is a water hose sized nozzle and the other is a spike about the width of an ice pick. The tip of the spike is open as well. The larger nozzle is a nanotech discharger and is used to spray millions of nanotech beings at opponents (this is a missile weapons attack, with a range of four meters, covering a 120 degree arc). Any opponents in melee combat with the swarmer who are in the path of discharge suffer a -3 modifierto any dodge attempts. Opponents hit by the attack will be infested with the dangerous nanotech beings, which slowly deaden the nerves and reflexes of opponents. Those who are infested suffer damage value 12 each round, although those with sealed battle suits will not suffer damage for the first two rounds.
That's...kinda all they do, though.

The other creature is the NerualJack Nightmare. These demons are pale humanoids jammed full of cyberware and sporting eight cables out their back. The Nightmares can control these like tentacles; two of them are monofilament whips, but the other six are actually neuraljack cables. If the Nightmare can get a vital blow attack result against someone with a nerualjack, the cable will connect to the victim's port and drag their perception (and conciousness) into a prison construct in the far reaches of the GodNet. Once that's done, the Nightmare will take over the victim's body in five minutes and gain access to their skills and cyberware. The only way to save someone who's been taken over is to kill the Nightmare; just cutting the cables won't do it; in fact it'll make things worse because the mind prisons of the Nightmare are hosted on a server inside its own body.

Unsurprisingly, Aysle has adapted best to the tunnels since they're really just D&D dungeons. If anything, the native Ayslish don't even realize that the caves and tunnels aren't supposed to be there. And really, they're just...dungeons. It's just the Land Between from back in the Aysle cosm, only on Core Earth now. The dwarves have taken to the tunnels like ducks to water, and have been mapping out the caverns and setting up small colonies. The two new creatures aren't even that interesting: the cave dragon (excuse me; "draconic cavernum" :jerkoff:) and gremlins, which is just an underground race of little impish jerks.

Oh, wait, sorry, there's actually three new creatures! We also get a new monster race: Monoliths

quote:

Monoliths appear as hugemen, over four meters tall, with skin the color of stone and faceted like a cut gem. They wear simple clothes bound with iron bands and carry large battle axes with shafts of iron and a blade of faceted stone. They always travel alone, never speaking or communicating with any other beings. They often seem preoccupied with their travels, only taking notice of those who bar their path. Anyone who obstructs a monolith (accidently or otherwise) is attacked until the way is clear. The origin of the geas which compels the monoliths is unknown, as is the race's origin, but it is bad fortune indeed to be the target of a monolith's quest, since the creature never rests until the quest is complete (it moves at a speed value of 12). It is known that monoliths require neither rest, nor food, and possibly can exist without air.
Exciting! Also kind of useless because that's all they have going for them; no explanation is given to what they are, why they quest, or why they're always alone. Like most of the creatures in this chapter (or in the whole game, really), there's no thought as to what these creatures are apart from "something to fight" with maybe a quirk of some sort.

And yes, I know, early 90's design, we didn't know better, etc. and so on. But it's still frustrating to look at this with 2017 eyes and see how much wasted potential there is here. But I'll talk about that more at the end of the post.

The Nippon Tech tunnels are very numerous, and almost all of them connect to urban centers. The "caves" in this region take the form of sub-basements, abandoned subway tunnels, and sewage systems to match the realm's aestheic.

quote:

The underworld is madeup ofsubway tunnels, basement complexes, and networks of corridors with walls sheathed in steel. Just as
Japan scarcely realizes it has been invaded by another reality, so too is it difficult to realize that the world below Nippon Tech is anything other than man-made passages. Actually, the underworld was created in the same way as the tunnels below other realms and Core Earth, but the Nippon Tech underworld took on the technological image of its realm.
These areas have become inhabited by the realm's homeless and mutant populations, with the mutants being the bigger threat to anyone poking around down there due to their unpredictable natures. The Kanawa Corporation knows about the tunnels, but aren't really doing anything with them apart from keeping a guard on the bigger known entrances.

At least the new Nippon Tech creatures are interesting, because they're actually thematically tied to the culture of Japan.

Kensai spirits seem to be "ancestor spirits", appearing as Japanese men wearing medieval clothing and wielding katanas. They're drawn to high technology (or people using high tech) for unknown reasons and the sole purpose of destroying/killing them. For the purposes of this desire, "high tech" is defined as anything with a tech axiom above 24 (Core Earth). What's even stranger is that under Nippon Tech axioms, spirits aren't possible; in fact, they automatically make a very strong intimidation attempt the first time they encounter someone who's never seen a supernatural occurance before.

The other creature...is Godon. And Godon is a classic kaiju.

quote:

The memories and fears of atomic weaponry inspired the Japanese movie monster genre. That subconscious fear of total destruction has manifested itself in living incarnations of these apocalyptic creatures, although none have appeared - yet. A half dozen of these giant creatures sleep under the nearby seas or in massive caverns. Such events as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or weapons testing could awaken one of these beasts and cause a rampage through Japan or China.

There are rumors that Kanawa scientists have uncovered a sleeping behemoth and are trying to discover ways to control the beast so that they could awaken it and use it as a potential weapon of war or sell its services for profit. Godon is a typical example of this type of creature, although particular characteristics vary greatly from individual to individual.
See, now that's a cool idea! That's a cool adventure hook with some interesting subtext you can work into it! Why is this the only place we get an idea this good? The idea of Japanese scientists trying to awaken and control the physical manifestation of their culture's societal fears is dark, yes, but fits in well with Nippon Tech's whole power-grab ends-justify-the-means human-costs-don't-matter style.

Lastly, we have Orrorsh. (Sorry, cyberdemon fans, this book came out before Tharkold.) The Gaunt Man is well aware of the caves and the Land Below, and has instructed his Darkness Device to extend the Orrorshian stelae boundaries a kilometer below ground level to ensure that the caves fit into his Ecology of Fear.

The upper levels of the caves take the form of barrows, ancient tombs, and other unhallowed ground. Mass graves are common, all filled with the "pagans" who the Victorians were unable to convert in the past. Tombs for those poor souls excommunicated by the Sacelleum abound, and below your feet you can always hear the scrabbling of the undead attempting to claw their way back into the land of the living.

And that's all before you even hit the 150 meters down mark.

The remainder of the caverns are less interested, but no less deadly. The creatures that spawn (and believe me, "spawn" is the correct word) in the depths aren't the capital-H Horrors that thrive on the surface and engage in long-term scheming. These are mindless, nameless beasts, the sort of Lovecraftian monstrosities that destroy your mind just by looking upon them. Fortunately, they very rarely make it to the surface...unless summoned by a dark ritual.

One of these beasts is the Nightmare Worm, one of the creations the Gaunt Man is most proud of. Nightmare worms are 10-foot long insects that look like caterpillars with human-ish faces, from which spout four long poisonous tendrils. When a worm is summoned, it bursts from the ground to attack its prey; a hit with the tendril does damage and has a chance of infecting the target with a poison that both decreases the target's Mind stat, but also paralyzes them with fear for the rest of the fight. If you live, then the lost points come back at a rate of one per hour. If your Mind drops to zero, however, you are driven irrevocably insane.

The other new creatures are wights, rumored to be the souls of people so foul, not even the devil would let them into hell. This is wrong, of course; the Gaunt Man takes those souls and traps them back in their original bodies and sets them loose upon the world they hate. Wights appear as deathly pale humans dressed in the tatters of their burial outfits, and are driven to seek out and murder any living being they can. Apart from their natural teeth and claws, wights possess the chill of the grave; when a wight simply touches someone, both the wight and the victim roll their Spirit against each other. If the wight wins, then the victim takes additional damage based on how much it won by.

Since these are Orrorshian creatures, they also have stuff like Corruption Values, Weaknesses (the worms' is open flame, the wights' is sunlight), and True Deaths (for the wight, you just need to destroy the body with damaging miracles, but the worm has to be "cast into a volcanic pit after each tentacle has been severed by a blessed blade").

And apart from a page-long sidebar about dimthreads that has nothing to do with anything except trying to settle the game's metaphysics with the stuff as presented, that's the end of the chapter.

--
What a wasted opportunity.

I know I say that a lot, but really, there's no other way to put it.

The idea of a "realm" that's basically each reality's version of the "underworld" is an idea with a lot of potential. And you can see bits of it poking out here and there. The idea of Japan's nightmares coming back to fight against what Japan has become. The idea of Hell being a physical place you can see in the Cyberpapacy. The idea that a race the edeinos wiped out ages ago may have come back. The idea that everything underneath Orrorsh is a mass underground graveyard and below that are the Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.

But they don't do anything with any of it. They're so focused on getting to the "Hollow Earth" stuff, any idea they had here is half-finished or just left by the wayside. Does the Hell under the Cyberpapacy connect to the Hell sector in the GodNet? What kinds of things can you actually find deep under Orrorsh apart from the nightmare worms? Why not have the Egyptian underworld gods under the Nile Empire? What's the deal with the Monolith race; why are they always questing? Why not something? Hell, there aren't even any illustrations in this chapter I can show you to break up the wall of text! The book can't even keep a consistent definition of "underworld"; sometimes it means Hell, others it just means a bunch of caves.

Back when I started the review of this book, I did my usual thing of giving a few bullet points about what happens in the realm, and one of them was a guy stumbling into the "caves" under Nippon Tech and implying if it was a Silent Hill kind of situation. Someone asked me if that was in the book, or if I exaggerated it to make it more interesting.

The sad fact is that I had to exaggerate it; as much as I'd love to say that there's all sorts of cool dark adventures to have down there, the reality is that you just stumble through caves and move on to the Hollow Earth stuff. Because that's all you can do with these idea. They're not settings. They're barely frameworks. What they are is a speedbump on the way to Living Land Again. Which, believe it or not, is still two chapters away.

Man, what could have been...

NEXT TIME: Flora and/or fauna

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 15:18 on Oct 12, 2017

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



GimpInBlack posted:

Other than the equipment list being Vietnam-era tech, the game absolutely works for any post-industrial military quagmire. In fact, the equipment is generally abstract enough that you probably don't need to change much--an assault rifle is pretty much an assault rifle. Cut the weight on electronics by half, maybe add a few new high-tech bits, and you'd be fine even without the forthcoming sourcebook on modern warfare.

The only thing I'm not seeing from what's in the write-up that's been a gamechanger in the forty-fifty years between Vietnam and now is small arms protection. The ballistic nylon in the Army's M69 and Marines' M1955 flak vests got replaced with Kevlar in PASGT ('80s-'90s) and later ballistic protection, which upped the protection from capable of stopping 7.62 Tokarev (as is claimed, the National Institute of Justice didn't start their "Class I-IV" rating system until the '70s) to capable of stopping .357 Magnum of later soft ballistic armor. But it's rifle plate that's had the biggest impact in modern warfare.

Aluminum Oxide ceramics did make an appearance in the famed "Chicken Plate", but their weight mostly reduced them to fixed positions, vehicle crewmen, or helicopter aircrew, although the Army did experiment with a Variable Body Armor program that combined a flak vest with a ceramic front and back plate that could also be worn separately. The Marines had a similar program built around a newly designed flak vest with pockets for ceramic plates, both of which look very modern in that it's side-opening, not front opening. Ceramic plate armor would continue to exist throughout the '80s for positions with limited mobility but mostly as a private endeavor. Ceramic inserts wouldn't be a thing until the Ranger Body Armor came about the '90s, when the military recognized a need for improving soldier protection against direct attacks from small arms (i.e. snipers) as, I think it's believed, most cover is decent enough protection from infantry fire (and soldiers need to be more mobile to get to cover). Later, the Interim Small Arms Protective Overvest, which could be donned over a PASGT vest, would be used in peacekeeping in Bosnia while the Interceptor, which combined the two, was being developed. The Interceptor was replaced with the Army's Improved Outer Tactical Vest, an improved Interceptor with more coverage and ability to add deltoid and auxiliary arm protection and side rifle protection, and the Marines' Mobile Tactical Vest sometime after Iraq, and the new Army's body armor program is putting the soft ballistic protection into a turtleneck shirt, if that, and/or just wearing the rifle plates with the load bearing equipment.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 20:48 on Sep 26, 2017

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


Young Freud posted:

The only thing I'm not seeing from what's in the write-up that's been a gamechanger in the forty-fifty years between Vietnam and now is small arms protection. The ballistic nylon in the Army's M69 and Marines' M1955 flak vests got replaced with Kevlar in PASGT ('80s-'90s) and later ballistic protection, which upped the protection from capable of stopping 7.62 Tokarev (as is claimed, the National Institute of Justice didn't start their "Class I-IV" rating system until the '70s) to capable of stopping .357 Magnum of later soft ballistic armor. But it's rifle plate
Yeah, we haven't talked about how the system handles Armor yet--it's there, and it would be easy to just improve the mechanical quality of that armor, but that's probably not the most satisfying solution from a gameplay scenario.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

Mors Rattus posted:

Fun fact: the Afghanistan War is still going. In a few months it will be eligible for a driver's license.

Sometime soon, the Afghanistan war will kill an American younger than itself. To say nothing of the thousands of Afghani, Pakistani, and other children than it has already killed. He typed from his computer while working a job for the military industrial complex.

Aside: What was that micro rpg about a patrol in Afghanistan? Road to something?

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Funny Little Guy Aficionado.


What's the magical girl thing you're working on

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

GimpInBlack posted:

Yeah, we haven't talked about how the system handles Armor yet--it's there, and it would be easy to just improve the mechanical quality of that armor, but that's probably not the most satisfying solution from a gameplay scenario.

I totally agree with that assessment. Lemme post what I did with the armour, you might find it interesting. Please ignore placeholder text from weapon mods.



One of the things that is definitely a factor in the Modern Warfare expansion is dropping in a lot of gear of variable effect to emphasis the over-the-top advantage Western military forces have over the insurgency, while making the point that it ultimately doesn't make that much of a difference, and that you need to carry it all. The new Universal Load System is a way more effective Webbing Belt, but you need it to carry all the batteries, weapon attachments, extra armour, weirdo ammo loadouts, electronics, night vision gear, and assorted other bullshit. Stuff that's really cool if you get to use it, but PATROL is way more about the time you spend having to walk around with a hundred pounds of bullshit on your back than it is about expending that stuff in cool fights. I want people to be excited to take things like special ammunition types and combat laptops, than consider ditching it 24 hours into their foot patrol when they realize they're moving at a crawl.

Neopie posted:

What's the magical girl thing you're working on

It's called 5 Across the Heart, and I've been writing it for about three years now. It's a medium-crunchy system designed to focus on strong characterization, with a focus on character goals and ideas like self-esteem and self-image. It's powered by a pretty weird d8 system and the core mechanic is wagering little chunks of your self-worth (which is also your magic) on your short and medium-term character goals, both to advance your cause and as forms of self-care. Basically, it's Sailor Moon meets spoons theory, attached to a fast-paced, shot-clock combat system, and you make your magical powers by tailoring a costume.

Oh, and the Dark Kingdom already won the battle, the world's been under their control for thousands of years, and you're a meguca resistance group fighting the magical patriarchy, with shades of The Matrix. In between fighting demons, sinister technomagical conspiracies, and evil magical girls cliques, you might find yourself battling the cops and their Witch Hunter swat teams.

open_sketchbook fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Sep 26, 2017

VacuumJockey
Jun 6, 2011

by R. Guyovich


That Patrol game looks pretty cool. Any wargamers here? I can't help but notice how RPG-bits have been creeping into skirmish wargames lately, to the point where they have experience systems and campaign generators. Five Men at Kursk is, I think, the wargame version of Patrol and Recon, although not quite as dark. Heck, Savage Worlds started out as a wargame, and is usable right out of the box as such.

Anyone up for doing some kind of contrast/compare post?

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

VacuumJockey posted:

That Patrol game looks pretty cool. Any wargamers here? I can't help but notice how RPG-bits have been creeping into skirmish wargames lately, to the point where they have experience systems and campaign generators.
Those have existed for a while. Squad Leader (from 1977) had one in its main rulebook, for instance - your individual leader counters could gain experience and get better at morale and leadership as they did stuff from scenario to scenario, or they could die messily (more likely). Car Wars (1980) had characters gain renown and skills and money from scenario to scenario and they published whole RPG-style adventures (including keyed-paragraph solo adventures) and even campaigns for it.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Starfinger Core Rules Part #01: "This massive 560-page hardcover rulebook is the essential centerpiece of the of the Starfinger Roleplaying Game, with rules for character creation, magic, gear, and more - everything you need to play Starfinger as a either a player or Game Master!"
(Credit: Paizo Store ad copy.)

So, it's time to return to the fields of Paizo. It's been a half-decade since my Pathfinder Roleplaying Game review, and those familiar with it will remember I found plenty to be critical about. was, frankly, a warmed-over version of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, which itself was a warmed-over version of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. Pathfinder was derivative RPG pablum that ignored most of the design innovations that Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 had made, instead favoring just dialing back the clock from 2009 to 2003. It was not only a rebuttal not only to Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, but to most of the innovative content that had been released under Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. That being said, it was attractively illustrated and laid out, had a very strong marketing pitch, and was very well-supported with adventures, setting material, and enough player options to choke a Tarrasque.

But there was one particular criticism leveled at my review: that Pathfinder Roleplaying Game wasn't just comprised of its two core books - that it was a living game, and to properly evaluate it, I'd need to be familiar with the current Pathfinder "state of the art" and judge it based on that. I reasonably maintain that if you write 904 pages of core material, that stands on its own and can be judged as a game, but they were not convinced. But there was no way I was going to sit down and review thousands of pages of Pathfinder material just to cover what I was already reasonably certain of. But Starfinger was coming. A new slate for Paizo. Certainly, I could go and see the Paizo's best foot put forward, and give them another chance.

To be fair, I poke fun. And hell, do I criticize. But I didn't come into this with a lot of preconceived notions. I expected something average - better than Pathfinder, but not massively groundbreaking. I may not have ever taken it too seriously, but I was hoping for something I could look and take some positive surprise from. I want to be impressed. I don't want to grind my teeth and sigh and cluck my tongue. After all, I don't want Paizo to just be stuck forever reprinting an RPG that will soon reach the age of majority in its home country. I want to see them free to design their own game, to be free of their albatross, to at least tip over some sacred cows. Will Starfinger manage a new, tasty recipe? Or will it just be astronaut ice cream?

Let's have a bit of a taste.



Starfinger Core Rules posted:

In Starfinger, you and your friends play the crew of a starship exploring the mysteries of a weird universe. Within this framework, however, there are no limits to the characters and play and the stores you can tell.

Well, aside from the classes and races available, and your capabilities at a given level, and whether or not you have the right feats... do you have the supplement to play that alien race? Pretty sure that's not out yet. Well, there are limits, and we'll be knocking up against them. They lied to us. (Marketing is like that.)

But first, what isa roleplaying game? Well, we get a pretty decent explanation. And we're ready to get started, because:

Starfinger Core Rules posted:

This book contains all the information you need to play Starfinger, whether you're a player or a Game Master.

Well, it's missing antagonists, unless you build all of your antagonists like PCs. Well, right off the bat, we have a bold untruth (repeated in the ad copy). Marketing is like that. But don't worry. We'll be directed to buy the absolutely necessary Alien Archive much later, but not here in the intro, when we're first deciding to buy the book. Of course, there's other stuff we'll need, which it tells us all about. We'll need dice, though! And pencils! And a map! Wait, where do we get a map?

Starfinger Core Rules posted:

Not sure where to start? Starfinger Flip-Mat: Basic Terrain and Starfinger Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield give you the maps you need to play, and you can find miniatures and cardstock pawns like the Starfinger Core Rulebook Pawn Collection at paizo.com, along with dice sets and other gaming accessories.

Ah, yeah, there's the Paizo I know. Remember boxed sets that came with everything you needed? Those were nice. This could use one of those. I suppose it'd be hard to find a box for this 560 page behemoth, though. Once again, why publish a Gamemaster's Guide when you can just bundle it with every Player's Guide? I mean, it makes the book really ridiculously big, but... then you can publish another book, and call it the Gamemaster's Guide, and make that seem essential! Marketing is like that.

As I read this, I'm flashing back to a month ago at GenCon, listening to Paizo publisher Erik Mona talk about how Pathfinder isn't really a game so much as a subscription. We're at the d20 retrospective, in which Ryan Dancey touts the accomplishments of the d20 license, which he was elbow-deep in creating. As for the cost to the industry, well, that's just on the heads of RPG publishers who made the wrong decisions.

Flash back a little further and I'm standing in line for the exhibition hall talking with people, one of which is describing multiple walls he has to dedicate to his Pathfinder collection. Another guy bemoans the fact that he had to cancel getting each case of Pathfinder miniatures because $300 a month was just too much and he couldn't keep up. Another talks about his friend who has a separate apartment just to hold his gaming collection. Not to live in. Just for storage. Not sure if that friend is a Paizo fan as well. These aren't people I sought out. They're not part of any of my game tribes. There's just enough of them that I can run into a few without putting any effort into it.

And we hop back forward to the the talk with Mona, where he mentions when they did Pathfinder Adventure Path #100, he felt like they were just kind of going through the motions, but now that they're doing Starfinger, he feels like Pathfinder Adventure Path #125 is finally a milestone he can be proud of, that they're finally moving things forward.

Let's move forward a little further, and I'm in the Paizo booth. It's huge. There are the Starfinger GM Screens and Flip-Mats in stacks, but the game itself sold out. Lisa Stevens mentioned at a talk that they'd brought 50% more copies of Starfinger in 2017 than they'd brought of Pathfinder in 2009. I feel really unconvinced by the notion that they thought it wouldn't sell out. Certainly she's aware that their player base probably was more than 50% bigger? I figure I'll ask some Paizo employee if the PDF is available, thinking about this potential review, but I'm distracted by a game writer I recognize and walk up to chat with them.

While I'm talking to the writer, they say, "Are you the guy that does those Rifts reviews? Oh my god, you have to send me the link for those!" I'm a bit shocked, but I can't pass on the name. I walk away from the Paizo booth having completely forgotten why I'd come in the first place.

Okay, that's a little off track, but I had to mention it. (I did send the link.)



I feel like there's a more interesting story here than the system or the game and more about the marketing itself. I go to the Paizo site to see what's available and nearly every page mentions a subscription. How did Paizo manage to get gamers to abandon the piecemeal supplement model of years past and get them to sign up for games like a magazine - a really expensive magazine, at that? It mirrors the Pre-Order Season Pass Early Access model we've seen hit videogaming around the same time, of effectively buying big blind boxes of content and trusting a company to make it all worthwhile... or for sunk cost fallacies to convince the customer that they're worthwhile.

I think of Erik Mona staring at a keyboard and thinking "What the gently caress do I say about A Song of Silver that I haven't said about the last ninety-nine adventures?" I think of a customer going "Well, I could quit, but that'd mean admitting I was wrong about subscribing to the last hundred Adventure Paths, but gently caress that. Someday I'll get to run them all, once the Singularity comes!"

And what is Starfinger, other than a new revenue stream, a new subscription path? I look at the author list for this book to see who I need to look up, to find out who's responsible, and there are over twenty authors this time around. RPG by committee, by any measure, and the usual auteur notions of RPGs are nowhere to be found here. This product belongs to nobody but Paizo. An extruded RPG product, if you will. I'm not saying there wasn't passion put into it, or inspiration. You definitely can feel both from the designers when the excitedly talk about it. But a lot of what fuels a product like this is folks like Mona or Stevens seeing folks cancel their $300 minis subscriptions and seeing buyer fatigue set in. Yes, fandom will keep people pitching money in, but only so far. They needed something that seems new and fresh.

Is Starfinger new and fresh? Well, that's about my limit in trying to analyze the business side of things. Let's find out about the rules.

Next: Roll 4d6... in space!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 00:16 on Sep 27, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Wait, are we like, a thing people outside of SA know about.

FATAL and Friends, I mean.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

open_sketchbook posted:

I have been working, slowly, on a modern warfare expansion, but it's rough. I don't have the luxury of decades of cultural introspection and history to draw on; a lot information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still too bound up in political bullshit. I generally prefer deriving from first-hand sources and memoirs (I read a lot of books for PATROL and most were autobiographical or gonzo in some way), and that'd be easy, except there's a whole cottage industry of Iraq war "memoirs" of dubious validity or overt pro-war posturing which has only accelerated since American Sniper. It'll take a few decades to shake out which have lasting value. Also, the wars are literally still happening, which makes it very raw, and makes me very nervous how I approach it. It's also difficult to nail down a theme because Afghanistan and Iraq are such different wars.

We should make a book about the Afghanistan War though. The Soviet-Afghanistan War. :v:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Also, did they seriously call it "Starfinger".

I assumed, originally, it said Starfinder.

Subjunctive
Sep 12, 2006

sparkle and shine



No, that's ARB's cute little affectation.

open_sketchbook
Feb 26, 2017

the only genius in the whole fucking business

LatwPIAT posted:

We should make a book about the Afghanistan War though. The Soviet-Afghanistan War. :v:

The main thing stopping me is the horrifying nature of Russian copyright law for photography.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, some of the reviews get passed around on sites like rpg.net and reddit. I've seen F&F mentioned on blogs as well. It's not really well known as far as I can tell, but some individual reviews definitely get around.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Also, god am I sick of these really restrictive, class-based RPGs proclaiming 'YOU CAN PLAY ANY SCI-FI HERO YOU CAN IMAGINE'

When I was 15, I tried to make a game like that, and while I was telling a classmate about it he told me 'I want to play a psychic, gestalt-minded flock of rockhopper penguins.'

If your game can't model The Flock, players can't play as whatever they can imagine, damnit.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Guide to Glorantha: Respect your elders

The Elder Races are those creatures who are not human, and whose cultures are not human. The five most important are the Aldryami (called elves or plant-men by men), the Mostali (called dwarves or stonemen), the Uz (trolls or darkmen), the dragonewts and the Triolini (merfolk). There are a wide variety of lesser Elder Races as well, such as the Beast Men, the broos, the ducks, the jelmre, the newtlings, the ogres, the scorpion men and the Winged Children, who are well known but are not significant cultural forces due to lack of numbers or power. There's all kind of weird poo poo out there; this is not an exhaustive list.

The Aldryami follow the Plant Mythos, which is a set of beliefs similar to the Animal or Human Mythos. It's a broad and wide-ranging set of philosophies which are rather unlike most human beliefs. However, all variants share a certain broad outline. Flamal is the father of all plants. He had no parents, save for the warm sky and the fertile water. His spouse is Grower, and together they had the child Aldrya. Aldrya bore great fruits, which were planted across the world. Each fruit grew to be a Great Tree, and each Great Tree was called Aldrya. Thus, while there are many local variations, all descendents of Aldrya know they are of one kin. The Green Age, they say, is the time when all of Flamal's children grew and covered the world. First were the Slorfings, ferns and mosses that reproduce strangely. Then the Vronkali, the conifer plants. When Yelm, the Flower Bringer came, so too did the Mreli, the deciduous plants, and last came the Embyli, the flowering broadleafs that would become most common. As these plants spread, so too did the influence of Aldrya, the forest-goddess.

When the Lesser Darkness came, ice and trolls and insects attacked the Aldryami. The trolls slew Flamal, and the Great Sleep began. Some of the forests survived, others did not. Many Embyli forests were altered by the Gods War, losing their leaves. The elves and their Great Trees went to sleep, in the hopes that the world would improve when they awoke. Genert's Garden was burned to ash by desperate humans seeking light in the Darkness, and many disasters happened. It only became worse with the coming of Chaos. Aldrya entered a sleep without end, and her children began to die. Genert, the father of all land-goddesses, was killed by Chaos in the dark winter that came. Some of the forests fought valiantly, but the primary role of the Aldryami in the Great Darkness was defensive, led by High King Elf, the leader of the unsleeping green elves. They worked hard to hold the line in the Darkness, protecting the forests until they could reawaken.

This reawakening came with the Dawning, when the Bright Goddess Vora walked the land, ending the Age of Sleep. Aldrya came forth once more to spread a message of love and elvish unity, trailed by her awakening children. The green elves were dominant at first, for only they had remained awake in the Darkness, and had worked hard to spread their conifers. It was they who aided Vora in the Dance of Rebirth, and so they were at first acknowledged as leaders of the Aldryami. In those days, the Life Force knew no sadness, and all life was in harmony. Even the Elder Races got along as they never had before. However, this unity, which birthed the Theyalan Council, could not last. Enemies began to argue once more, and hatred returned. Worst of all, each race fell into internal conflict. The elves lost Tallgreen Forest to internal disputes. The brown elves began to fight the green elves for leadership, while the yellow elves worked to spread their forests. This time is now known as Aldrya's Woe. In one final effort to return unity, the elves helped the Theyalan Council create Nysalor, the White Light. Even that ended in only more war, as the trolls, dragonewts and the men of Dragon Pass broke away. The Council fled to Dorastor, where the elves took over after eliminating their dwarf rivals. The resulting Gbaji Wars at the end of the First Age crippled elf power. In the early Second Age, the trolls and dwarves warred on the Aldryami, but in Pamaltela, the Errinoru dynasty rose to untie the elf jungles, and were even able to temporarily restore the woods of Jolar, until a new kind of insect came at the end of the Second Age and destroyed them. The Pamaltelan elves have yet to recover. Now, the elves are beset by humans on all sides. The Lunars expand in Genertela, and they have already burned two healthy forests down. In Pamaltela, the old enemy, Fonrit, has been rising again.


Left: A Brown Elf gardener resembling a walking oak tree. He wields a magic staff. Middle: A Yellow Elf scout, kin to cypress trees. He wields a living plant bow. Right: A Green Elf warrior woman, kin to the pine. She wields a living plant bow.

There are, as noted, several kinds of Aldryami, all kin to plants but all very different. In fact, the term 'Aldryami' is about as broad as the term 'animal.' All share some traits, however. Generally speaking, the large a plant is, the larger its Aldryami counterpart. A man-sized elf requires trees of normal size, say. The God Learners estimated that it took roughly a square mile of moderate forest to produce ten brown elves. All Aldryami care for their plant kin and tend to them, working with others of their type. The God Learners assigned them colors to classify them, and the terms are widely used by humans, though not by the elves themselves. It isn't literal - all elves appear generally plantlike, with green or yellow leaves, colorful flowers, and so on - but are rather tied to God Learner sorcerous associations with the elements and the directions.

The most numerous of the elves are the so-called True Elves, the Mreli, Vronkali and Embyli. They tend to be smaller of frame, shy outside their own lands and very protective of their forests. They see themselves as caretakers of the plants, and they work constantly to protect them and keep them healthy. It is said that once, there were white elves, but that the Gods War wiped them out. Fire elves are said to still appear in the lands of fire, south of Pamaltela, but even other elves know nothing of them, and almost all elves fear fire by nature. Moon elves are said to live in exotic forests on the Red Moon, but have never been seen on the surface world. Most believe them to be lies of the Lunars. The Mreli are the brown elves, associated with deciduous trees, and are the most common type of elf in Genertela right now. They work together regardless of what tree they represent, so it is common to see oak, birch, willow and elm together. However, not all brown elves know each other - the Pamaltelan and Genertelan elves, for example, have not spoken in a very long time. The Vronkali are the green elves of the conifers, and the only elves found in the Winterwood forest. They are also common in brown elf forests, where they protect the Mreli during winter. They and the Mreli work together closely and consider each other to be of the same culture. The Embyli, or yellow elves, are the elves of the tropical evergreens. They are most common among Pamaltelan elves, but can also be found in southeast Genertela, the East Isles and several islands. They can sometimes be found among brown or green elves, and when they do, they are part of the same society and culture.

The Dryads are a related species of Aldryami found the forests of green, brown and yellow elves. They are embodied plant spirits, the protectors of the forests who cannot harm any but those that would harm the woods. They are able to assume a spiritual form that cannot touch or be touched by physical things, and in their physical form they can do nearly any kind of plant magic. The Great Trees, or Shanassee Trees, are the spiritual power centers of the forests, so sacred that only the rulers of the elves and a few chosen caretakers may know where they are. The Great Tree is alway on a forest's council of elders, speaking for the plants of the wood directly. Each one is an actual tree, a survivor of the Gods Age or a graft of one of those. They often have many types of bark, glow with magic and are surrounded by rare plants, as well as samples of every plant in their forest. Runners are a minor subset of the Aldryami, who are to elves as bushes and shrubs are to trees. They are typically timid and non-sentient. Sprites are the Aldryami of flowers and weeds, and their numbers vary greatly between forests. They often possess weak magic powers, and are very tiny.

The black elves, or Voralans, are not true Aldryami, for they do not even descend from Flamal - they are tied to fungus, not plants. They are often classed as creatures of Darkness, and typically live near trolls. However, they are culturally tied to the other elves, and may hide their 'cousins' from their troll friends in times of need. They tend to be short and very light, with no hair or nails and often swollen skulls. They are hermaphroditic, but rarely reproduce, with each birth resulting in a large number of nearly identical, telepathically linked siblings. They worship the goddess Mee Vorala and make many mushroom-based crafts. The blue elves, or Murthoi, are aquatic beings that die out of water, tending to seaweed rather than trees. Some are freshwater, some sea, and they often feel a cultural link to the tree elves. Their upper bodies resemble those of the brown elves, but their skin is a pale purple-red, and they do not blink. Their hair is violet, and their lower bodies taper into a long tail, which they vibrate to swim with. They worship the sea goddess Murthdrya. The red elves, or Slorifings, were the first elves, relatives to ferns and spore-using plants. They vary wildly in form, and many are not even humanoid. Humans tend to know them as goblins. All are small and quite fierce, and all members of a Slorifing species share the same role in the swamps, socially. They are exclusively male and rely on a race of love nymph known as the Olarians, children of Uleria and Aldrya, to mate. They worship these nymphs, and after doing so, bury themselves to sleep in death. A plant sprouts from this grave, and its seeds or spores hatch into tiny goblins, known as imps, which grow into full-size Slorifings eventually. They are as intelligent as any, just small, and may speak their native tongue from birth. They are treated as adults in all ways by the Slorifings.

The average brown elf is slim - around five feet tall and 120 pounds. Green elves are a bit taller, yellow a bit shorter. They usually appear quite plantlike, but some can appear strikingly human rather than walking trees. Typically, they are purpose-grown, with the humanlike ones meant to interact with humans somehow. Elven eyes have neither white nor pupil, and come in many colors. No two elves ever look alike, and their appearance is affected by their type of tree. A birch elf will be slender and pale, while an oak elf will be thicker and darker in hair and skin. Both will be tall compared to an apple elf. Elves share all human senses, and tend to have better night vision, but cannot see in true darkness. However, with a touch they can sense someone's health and emotional state, and whether or not the target is stressed or in pain. They can also sense quality of soil by touch. Elves appear to reproduce sexually, after which the female gives birth to something rather like a coconut, which is planted in a hidden place and grows into a large, fleshy fruit. When it ripens, it is opened to reveal an elf child, which takes about two years. The newborn is about equivalent to a four-to-six-year-old human.

All yellow elves are male, and must mate with dryads to reproduce. Green and brown elves have both sexes, but green elves cannot reproduce with dryads, while brown elves can. All three reach maturity by age 20, physically, but are not socially considered mature until 40 or 50. Young elves are not full members of society and often become adventurers for a time. Elves are very long-lived, but they are not immortal. Their lifespan is tied to their trees. Green elves live longest, averaging around 300 years, though a redwood elf can live to over a thousand. They are rarely seen but are the source of legends of elven immortality. Brown elves tend to live to 250, though some can live as long as 500 years. Yellow elves live to around 200. Elves become more treelike as they age, and when they die of old age they go to sleep and become trees. Elves do not build buildings or mind bad weather, and typically live alongside their plant kin. They are all vegetarians, and they prefer food raw most of the time but do sometimes pickle, age or marinate. They do not use salt but do use other spices. Yellow elves will, rarely, eat scraps of meat or insects, which other elves find disgusting. There are an estimated 8.6 million elves across the world, with about half of them living in the Pamaltelan jungles.

Brown, green and yellow elves speak the Aldryami language. Black elves speak Voralan, and blue elves speak Murthoi. Goblins in Porlaso and Hornilio speak Vorlarian, while goblins in Sozganjio speak Parolarian. Aldryami is related to no human languages at all, but most elves that deal with humans prefer to use the local human tongue to do so, even if the humans try to show off knowledge of Aldryami. Elves enjoy privacy and seclusion, but always live in forests with other elves. They marry, but have no concept of divorce. Most elves do not marry, though there is no taboo against premarital reproduction. Brown elves do not sleep, except in winter. Green and yellow elves must rest each day, but do not become unconscious while doing so. Some believe that brown elves' souls go to the afterlife during winter. All elves choose their own work, but all work for the good of the forest, and most are plant-tenders or protectors of forest creatures. Elves do not use money, and consider all goods needed by another elf something that should be freely given, without trade or barter.

Elf forests are each ruled by a Council of Elders, headed by the Great Tree of the forest. The council has representatives of High King Elf, Elder Sister, High Gardener and the forest's major plants, as well as the Chosen One seat, held in reserve for figures of prophecy. Councils tend to be quite conservative, reacting in response to the forest's moods and cycles. The Great Tree speaks for the plants directly, while High King Elf speaks for the elves, Elder Sister speaks for the dryads and spirits, and the Gardener speaks for the deep forest's creatures. Other gods and spirits may advise, but have no vote. Green elf forests also each have a Vronkal, or king, who has equal partnership with the Council. Yellow elf forests treat the Elder Sister as a queen, who is equal partner to the Council as a whole.

Elves consider humans to be enemies because humans kill trees to make tools and homes. Trolls are enemies because they eat elves and trees. Dwarves are enemies for their deeds in the God Time. Elves tend to base their views on other races solely on their potential threat or benefit. They rarely forget a wrong done them, or a kindness. They form opinions slowly, but rarely change them. Elves distrust humans for the deeds of humans past, though individual humans may prove themselves useful and good, even being named elf-friend...but even elf-friends are judged on a case by case basis. One good human does not make humans good. Elves maintain small units of warriors to protect their woods, and tend to be exceptionally familiar with the land and how to fight in it, able to drive off much larger forces. They can muster large armies, but rarely do, and do not enjoy leaving their forests to fight. Elves prefer arrow fire and small light infantry units, and do not ride in battle. They hate iron, the poison metal, and will never wield it. Its bite poisons them.

Aldrya is the chief of all tree elf gods, mother to elves and dryads. Tree elves worship her almost universally, and her cult is the basis for most elven social interaction. Apostasy or even heterodoxy are rare, though elves may worship friendly gods such as Yelmalio or Flamal (though by other names). Elven minor gods include Flamal the Seed Father, Yelmalio the Unfailing Light in the Darkness, Babeester Gor the Earth Avenger, Earth witch the Knower of the Secrets of the Earth, Ernalda the Earth Mother, Gata the Primal Earth, High King Elf the Guardian of the Forest, Ty Kora Tek the Keeper of the Dead, or Voria, Goddess of Spring. Blue elves worship Murthdrya, red elves worship Slor and black elves worship Mee Vorala.

Next time: Magic chicken-riding lizards.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Freaking Crumbum posted:


There's literally zero art included in the section for Enochian magic, so I'm going to include pictures of the real-life Voynich Manuscript instead. It's a real Unsolved Mystery and I think it's rad as hell.

Actually the mystery of the Voynich manuscript has pretty much been solved now.
https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/voynich-manuscript-solution/

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy


I've said this model is genius in the past, it is, but I'm glad to see it's falling off.

This is definitely a case of having to stave off the fact that the well has run dry and they can't make a second edition due to their business model. They've run on reactionary anger for so long, they're incapable of actually innovating without losing most of their base.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Cooked Auto posted:

Actually the mystery of the Voynich manuscript has pretty much been solved now.
https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/voynich-manuscript-solution/

Incorrect. That dude made his claims without even consulting the librarians who have spent their lives taking care of and studying the manuscript. He has no evidence for his claims regarding Latin abbreviations, and the ones he claims to have found are Latin grammatical nonsense. He can provide no evidence of the claimed indices, which, if they existed in the Manuscript, are not there currently.

It may well be a women's health manual; he is not the first to make this claim, and it's not news. It's one of several strong theories that predate this guy by quite a bit.


https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/experts-are-extremely-dubious-about-the-voynich-solution/

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Look, we all know it's part of Francis Bacon's collection on the dark magic of the Fomors, with which they animated soulless abominations against God to build their wondrous society of nightmare.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.



Oh poo poo, here we go. :allears:

Also, five years since your Pathfinder review? Holy drat, I'm old.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Okay now I understand why you call it Starfinger. I was gonna ask at one point but I didn't want to be rude. I now feel like I would call it Starfinger as well.

e: son of a bitch I played myself.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 00:59 on Sep 27, 2017

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Subjunctive posted:

No, that's ARB's cute little affectation.

I have no idea what you're talking about. It says Starfinger on the cover, doesn't it...?

GimpInBlack posted:

Also, five years since your Pathfinder review? Holy drat, I'm old.

I was vaguely shocked to realize that myself.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.



Starfinger,
Is it the game? The game with the Midas Touch?

Oh, I'm looking forward to this. I will not be surprised if
A) It's better than D&D 5th because there's an actual paid design team
or B) It's just Pathfinder with a bunch of technological stat porn stapled on

or C) Somehow both A and B at the same time.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Yeah, that spells 'Starfinder' the way this spells 'Pizza':

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




DalaranJ posted:

Starfinger,
Is it the game? The game with the Midas Touch?

:cool:- Do you expect me to play this?
:smug: -No, Mr. Goon, I expect you to buy!

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Mors Rattus posted:

Incorrect. That dude made his claims without even consulting the librarians who have spent their lives taking care of and studying the manuscript. He has no evidence for his claims regarding Latin abbreviations, and the ones he claims to have found are Latin grammatical nonsense. He can provide no evidence of the claimed indices, which, if they existed in the Manuscript, are not there currently.

It may well be a women's health manual; he is not the first to make this claim, and it's not news. It's one of several strong theories that predate this guy by quite a bit.


https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/experts-are-extremely-dubious-about-the-voynich-solution/

Ah, go figure. Hadn't seen the Ars follow up article in this case. v:v:v

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

VacuumJockey posted:

That Patrol game looks pretty cool. Any wargamers here? I can't help but notice how RPG-bits have been creeping into skirmish wargames lately, to the point where they have experience systems and campaign generators.

One of the big draws to Advanced Squad Leader, at least to me, is that there's a lot of "emergent gameplay" and "procedurally generated narrative" coming out of things like morale checks and extremely (un)lucky rolls.

There's definitely still a strategy to playing the game, but there's also enough randomness that you can never really predict how it's going to turn out, and things like Heroic and Berserking actions from your men can even create some kind of attachment to them.

There was a parallel discussion in the wargaming thread about how to have more RPG elements in wargames, and my own take was that most RPGs with "mass combat rules" already have a framework for becoming a wargame, but they stumble at the part where you have to assemble the forces involved.

Like, GURPS Mass Combat has the potential for being a perfectly fine wargame, but you have to research the OOB of the 7th Panzer and the 29th Army circa July-1941 yourself, and figure out how that fits into the points-value system of the game.

Or even in a more organic/traditional sense, where your party of Fantasy Heroes has rallied a conglomeration of townships to raise militias against an encroaching Ogre threat ... you need to figure out how many pikemen, archers, and horsemen can be derived and organized from six villages of 800 people each, and what their combat values are, and what the combat values of the ogres are relative to them.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 02:23 on Sep 27, 2017

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Cooked Auto posted:

Actually the mystery of the Voynich manuscript has pretty much been solved now.
https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/voynich-manuscript-solution/

Mors Rattus posted:

Incorrect. That dude made his claims without even consulting the librarians who have spent their lives taking care of and studying the manuscript. He has no evidence for his claims regarding Latin abbreviations, and the ones he claims to have found are Latin grammatical nonsense. He can provide no evidence of the claimed indices, which, if they existed in the Manuscript, are not there currently.

It may well be a women's health manual; he is not the first to make this claim, and it's not news. It's one of several strong theories that predate this guy by quite a bit.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/experts-are-extremely-dubious-about-the-voynich-solution/

fwiw i hope it's never 100% decoded because the mystery of what it could be is way cooler than whatever it actually is

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




open_sketchbook posted:

The rules for the book are actually well laid out, because it's mostly just character creation and equipment changes. Probably the biggest meaningful change is that coalition soldiers are effectively a lot tougher than their Vietnam counterparts, especially as the war drags on and body armour gets much, much better. Your advantage over the Taliban and Iraqi insurgency is hilariously one-sided and most of the threats are passive,
Oof, yeah, I definitely wouldn't want to play a Godlike game where the biggest threats to the PCs involve pulling in the optional rules from the appendix for being under artillery fire and crossing minefields.

GimpInBlack posted:

Yeah, we haven't talked about how the system handles Armor yet--it's there, and it would be easy to just improve the mechanical quality of that armor, but that's probably not the most satisfying solution from a gameplay scenario.
Last Thursday I had a lovely day and went to relax at the pool. I was going to sit in the hot tub and read The Innsmouth Cycle. Instead I listened to two old guys tell stories about friends getting shot through their flak jackets in Vietnam.

FMguru posted:

Those have existed for a while. Squad Leader (from 1977) had one in its main rulebook, for instance - your individual leader counters could gain experience and get better at morale and leadership as they did stuff from scenario to scenario, or they could die messily (more likely). Car Wars (1980) had characters gain renown and skills and money from scenario to scenario and they published whole RPG-style adventures (including keyed-paragraph solo adventures) and even campaigns for it.
There was definitely a lot of stuff in the very early days of the hobby that were neither-here-nor-there in terms of whether they were a wargame or a RPG. There were wargames that basically just had a few paragraphs tacked on at the end about roleplaying your character, and likewise early roleplaying games were often 90% combat and movement rules.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 03:48 on Sep 27, 2017

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.


open_sketchbook posted:

I totally agree with that assessment.

Yeah, after posting that I realized I was basically saying the same thing you said earlier. Sorry about that!

open_sketchbook posted:

One of the things that is definitely a factor in the Modern Warfare expansion is dropping in a lot of gear of variable effect to emphasis the over-the-top advantage Western military forces have over the insurgency, while making the point that it ultimately doesn't make that much of a difference, and that you need to carry it all. The new Universal Load System is a way more effective Webbing Belt, but you need it to carry all the batteries, weapon attachments, extra armour, weirdo ammo loadouts, electronics, night vision gear, and assorted other bullshit. Stuff that's really cool if you get to use it, but PATROL is way more about the time you spend having to walk around with a hundred pounds of bullshit on your back than it is about expending that stuff in cool fights. I want people to be excited to take things like special ammunition types and combat laptops, than consider ditching it 24 hours into their foot patrol when they realize they're moving at a crawl.

You've basically weaponized the sunk cost fallacy as a game design element. Well-played. :golfclap:

It's a subtle but interesting distinction between Vietnam PATROL and modern PATROL--I feel like the base game also encourages you to ditch gear, but generally before the mission and generally because it's either a) useless (Field Jackets in the high summer in lowland jungles), b) not worth the weight (Flak Jackets, at least sometimes), or c) an incredibly tactically stupid thing to use (Flashlights)--in effect, it's reinforcing the theme that the US Army doesn't actually understand this war or what's required to prosecute it successfully. The modern take, on the other hand, really highlights how absurd and over-engineered the military-industrial complex has become, which feeds directly into the questioning of the real root causes of the War on Terror.

I bet there's something interesting you could do by tying Load to the amount of Doubt soldiers gain from certain stimuli--really drive home the fact that you're carrying a hundred pounds and a few million bucks worth of bleeding-edge tech just to kill five guys with sixty-year-old assault rifles and a Soviet-era machine gun bolted into the bed of a pickup truck.

open_sketchbook posted:

It's called 5 Across the Heart, and I've been writing it for about three years now.

This also sounds super neat!

Halloween Jack posted:

Last Thursday I had a lovely day and went to relax at the pool. I was going to sit in the hot tub and read The Innsmouth Cycle. Instead I listened to two old guys tell stories about friends getting shot through their flak jackets in Vietnam.

That sounds fascinating and also more than a little depressing.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





I hate to interrupt the dark reflections on the nature of war but

Young Freud posted:

the soft ballistic protection into a turtleneck shirt, if that, and/or just wearing the rifle plates with the load bearing equipment.
The tactical turtleneck is real!?!?!?

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Vietnam "flak vests" weren't really intended to stop modern rifle bullets. They were supposed to stop fragments. It's really only very lately that ballistic vests intended to stop bullets of any kind have become standard issue. Even the PASGT was primarily an anti-fragment vest. The first vest really intended to just take bullets was the Ranger Body Armor, and later vests have copied its designs. Truma plates have become more common issue too.

E: though you could get some pretty decent pistol-caliber protection by stuffing an extra pair of plates down the front of an M1959 vest.

LatwPIAT fucked around with this message at 08:46 on Sep 27, 2017

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.




Table of Contents Part Three: Run Through the Jungle
Now that we know how to roll dice and make characters, it's time to start looking at the actual structure of play. Today we're going to look at the basic foundations, with specific elements like movement, combat, etc. to follow.

The standard structure of a PATROL game is, shockingly enough, an infantry foot patrol Mission. A Mission starts with a Briefing, where you learn your Objectives, then progresses through a series of ordered Turns where the PCs do stuff to try to accomplish those Objectives, then wraps up with an Epilogue where you assess the fallout of the Mission, spend XP, and get ready to go out again.

Objectives
Pretty much what it says on the tin: the Army doesn't send you out into the bush without something that at least vaguely resembles a reason, after all. Completing Objectives nets you Victory Points, which are a sort of measure of your general morale and ability to cope with the shitshow that is Vietnam. They're contrasted by Fatigue, which is a general measure of how Done With This poo poo you are. We'll talk a lot more about Fatigue and VPs when we get to the section on Status Effects, but for now you should just keep in mind that coming back from a mission with more Fatigue than VPs is a Very Bad Thing. (Also, on most missions, the VPs you earn from completing Objectives won't be enough to fully offset the Fatigue you suffer, so you'll have to look elsewhere to make up the difference.) Objectives are also one way the GM has to regulate the tone of a PATROL game: a Mission whose Objective is to patrol local villages and root out V.C. agents has a very different feel than one whose Objective is to ambush an NVA column on the road or rescue a downed airman or hump a hundred klicks out into the boonies and broadcast a live reading of Shelley's Ozymandias on a seemingly-random frequency. (One of the example game tones in the GM's section is called "Saigon Gothic" and it is delightfully weird.)

Turns
Unlike a lot of RPGs, which handwave most "narrative time" and only go into a strict turn sequence in combat or other action scenes, PATROL always operates in Turns. You can blow through a bunch of Turns in a single sentence ("okay, working together it takes you four Turns to dig that defensive perimeter around the village") or spend a goodly amount of time resolving a single one, but the Turn structure is at the forefront of the game. A Turn breaks down like this:
  • Players' turn
    - Advance Status Effects
    - Perform Actions
    - Reset Suppression
    - Assess Fatigue
  • Enemy Turn
    - Perform Actions
    - Reset Suppression
  • Civilian Turn

(Status Effects are important enough that they get their own section later, but we'll go over the rest of these beats here.)

Turns in PATROL are significantly longer than you might be used to in other RPGs--approximately 30 minutes, three times longer even than AD&D's. The reason for this is twofold: First, it simulates the fact that war is, by and large, long periods of abject boredom followed by a few minutes of abject terror. Even a typical engagement with the enemy is often a few frantic bursts of fire followed by a long process of falling back and repositioning for the next strike. Direct, pitched battle is pretty rare. When it does happen, you can compress the timescale of your Turns, but that doesn't change anything like how often you advance Status Effects.

The second reason is more insidious: since you advance Status Effects like Hunger, Thirst, and Exhaustion at the beginning of every turn, time becomes the way in which PATROL punishes failure. A failed action never leads to a "nothing changes" result, because you're constantly getting tired, hungry, and thirsty, which in turn forces you to make choices like "do I consume some of my ever-dwindling resources and hope we don't waste too much time" or "will the village headman be more willing to tell me where the V.C. base is if I point a gun at his face?"

Incidentally, remember how I said there's a really elegant game-design reason for limiting communication between PCs and locals besides enforcing the theme of isolation? This is it. By forcing the "face" character into a half-hour Turn structure and limiting how much information can be exchanged per action, it gives the other PCs time to do their own thing, whereas in a free-form conversation it's really easy for one player to monopolize the GM's time playing out that chat. This way the Medic can go around and treat the sick or wounded (there are always sick or wounded), the Engineer can dig a trench in case of V.C. ambush, or whatever.

At the end of the Turn, any suppression the unit is currently suffering from is reset to 0 and, for the player turn, everybody looks at their current Status Effect levels and, after having the chance to consume equipment to reduce Status Effects, figures out their Fatigue level. Although Status Effect levels can drop, Fatigue never decreases during a mission, so it's important to remember that players have a chance to mitigate Status Effects before this. More on Fatigue in the next update, and Suppression when we get to Combat, probably in 2-3 updates.

The Roundel
Keeping track of a bunch of Status Effects can be really tedious--it's easy to forget to mark them down or lose track of when you ticked them last. To combat this, PATROL gives you a sheet called the Roundel. It looks like this:



The whole squad shares one Roundel, and at the start of the Mission you put a token at the twelve o'clock spot. Then, every turn you advance the token one space on the Roundel, mark any Status Effects it tells you to, and round and round it goes. The Roundel is a harsh taskmaster--it doesn't care if the 6 Turns you just blew through consisted of two minutes of house-to-house fighting or if your replacement PC just stepped off the resupply chopper--if it says you mark a Status Effect, you mark it.

Actions
With such long Turns, you'd think PCs could do more per turn than in other RPGs, and that's true up to a point. Remember, you spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for something to happen during those 30 minutes--it's perhaps more helpful to think of Actions less as discrete actions than as an approximation of how much of your attention you're giving to various things during your Turn.

During the Player Turn, each PC gets to make one Regular Action, which is the main thing they're doing this turn--shooting, securing prisoners, or running like hell, for instance. You can also make an effectively unlimited number of Minor Actions and Free Actions--the difference being that you can only make any given Minor Action once per Turn, but you can repeat Free Actions as often as you like.

Not only is there no enforced "initiative order" within any given phase of a Turn, there's no requirement that each character take their entire turn at once. You can absolutely lay down some suppressive fire, then wait for your buddy with a flamethrower to flush the enemy out, then throw a grenade, then Shift up to a new position with the rest of your Squad. Alternately, you can Overwatch as a Regular Action, which is just a more setting-appropriate term for readying an action. One key difference, though, is that if the trigger you set for Overwatch happens, you have to take the action--so be careful about things like "I'm gonna shoot at the first thing that moves out there" if you've got friendlies in the bush.

The Map
The single most important physical element of a PATROL game is the map of the mission area. Since a bunch of the game relies on tracking the relative position of things, you really need a way to visualize where everyone is, what the terrain's like, etc. The best maps are, unsurprisingly, actual military maps that show elevation, terrain, major features, etc. which, you're welcome, future PATROL players. Actually, those maps are probably a smidge too large-scale for play; the same site has a library of 1:25,000 scale maps that are better, but not nearly as complete--only a small area around Saigon and a couple of spots on the coast are available, and I can't find a more-complete archive of that series of maps. Hey, open_sketchbook, you got any good period-accurate maps to hook us up with?

In any case, no matter what scale your map is, PATROL itself never resolves below 10 meters--for game purposes, anything within 10 meters of anything else is considered to be in the same space.

Units

Art's a little thin in this section, so here are some soldiers.

Speaking of never resolving below 10 meters, that applies to people, too. Anybody within 10 meters of each other, regardless of whether they're friendlies, hostiles, or civilians, is considered a Unit. Units are the primary point of interaction for most of the game--you don't shoot at a specific target, you shoot at a Unit, and who you hit in that Unit is determined randomly. (You might want some different-sized polyhedral dice to make random hits easier to track.) Yes, that means that if your Point is sneaking up on that enemy sentry to garrote him and your trigger-happy Pigman starts blasting away, your buddy counts as part of that Unit. Likewise, if your Point is moving 30 meters ahead of the rest of the squad, he's considered a separate Unit. Within a Unit, we never track who is specifically where--individual members of the Unit are effectively Heisenberg Uncertainty Soldiers. The one exception to this rule is Vehicles--every Vehicle counts as its own Unit, no matter how many infantry or other Vehicles are around.

Units themselves don't act directly--individual members still do their own things. I kind of wish there was an option to "group" actions, especially for NPCs so the GM doesn't have to roll seven Suppressive Fire actions on the enemy Turn. I guess if all the enemies have the same Skills you could just roll all their dice at once, but that would mess up calculating FUBARs. Still, the comparatively low-res Unit rules and the fluid action order does a lot to provide tactical depth without getting into 30-minute debates on whether the rifleman should move 20 feet and shoot once or 5 feet and shoot twice or what have you.

NPCs
(I'm jumping out of order here a bit, because I think this makes more sense here--in the book, the next rules are for Detection, Equipment, and Moving--I'll cover them next update instead.)

NPCs have stat blocks just like PCs, though you don't generally have to worry about specifically tracking their Status Effects or Consumables. We're most broadly concerned with NPC Squadmates, Allies, and Hostile Forces.

Since most gaming groups are notably smaller than a US Army Infantry squad (typically 12-14 soldiers), you can fill out the squad with generic NPC servicemen. These guys are basically redshirts--they're nominally under control of the Sergeant's player, they never take the initiative from PCs, and they're generally there as support. They're not robots, though, and they're not totally under PC control--they'll refuse suicidal orders, retreat in the face of overwhelming odds, etc. Oh, and if a PC is hit by random fire, the player can say "nope," and shunt the damage off on an NPC. Sucks to be PVT Snafu. Alternately, in lieu of a pool of generic NPCs, you can give each PC a "battle buddy" NPC that follows their lead. This is a great way to offload the more boring jobs, like the medic's stretcher-bearer or the sniper's spotter.

Allied NPCs are either fellow soldiers you encounter in the field, or, more likely, support. Free World Forces in Vietnam have a truly ridiculous amount of support available to them. Thanks to a huge network of firebases across the country, all but the most remote parts of Vietnam are within range of artillery barrages, and helicopters for everything from Medevac to resupply to gunship support. You might even get to call in close air support from the Air Force or the Navy, but don't hold your breath--the flyboys don't get out of bed for less than an NVA regiment. There are no special rules for calling in support--PCs should know what's on-station and likely to be available to them, but if you call in an artillery strike, some artilleryman NPC back at the nearest firebase rolls his Bombard action based on the range from his guns to the target and hopes you did a good job giving him the coordinates. The idea is that by using the standard rules for this stuff, you already have the systems to determine what happens. If the Medevac chopper is on-station 5 klicks out and a Huey's max. Speed is 500 km/Turn, you know it will arrive the same turn it sets off.

Hostile forces likewise use all the same rules as other NPCs, but they have a simplified, Unit-level Status Effect track that goes from 1-5. For every member of the Unit that dies, or every three hours they go without rest while fighting the PCs, tick the track up by 1. When it passes 5, the Unit flees, gives up, or surrenders. We also get some information here about Rules of Engagement: in a Free Fire Zone, everyone and everything is considered a hostile. You're free to do things like call for artillery to saturate an entire area or shoot anyone that moves. The more common ROE is Offensive, in which you're free to engage anyone with a weapon or an enemy uniform, but you'll need visual confirmation or solid evidence of a threat to call in support fire. Finally, in a Restricted ROE, you're forbidden to fire unless fired upon, you can't plant booby traps or mines, and any artillery strikes require an observer.



Next Time: Paint it Black - Status Effects and Fatigue.

For the rest of this F&F, I'm going to be doing some surgery--the book is laid out such that it presents the basic rules for various situations, then a detailed breakdown of all the Actions in the game, then Equipment. Because that's not the most naturalistic way to talk about things, I'm going to do a vertical slice of topics--so we'll cover general combat rules, combat actions, and weapons and similar gear in one update, for example. I'm also going to skip ahead to cover Status Effects next, because IMHO it's one of the best parts of the game and combat especially builds on them.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 14:36 on Oct 9, 2017

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



ZorajitZorajit posted:

Sometime soon, the Afghanistan war will kill an American younger than itself. To say nothing of the thousands of Afghani, Pakistani, and other children than it has already killed. He typed from his computer while working a job for the military industrial complex.

Aside: What was that micro rpg about a patrol in Afghanistan? Road to something?

Route Clearance
https://200wordrpg.github.io/2017/rpg/winner/2017/04/22/RouteClearance.html

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MightyMatilda
Sep 2, 2015


This Starfin(d/g)er thing is even more confusing than when ARB insisted that Mutants in Orbit was called Rifts Space.

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