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Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Mors Rattus posted:

e: 1e Zeky also had one rule that IMO was unforgivable: if they hit the New Dawn, they died immediately because they became human in the middle of their own giant radiation bursts, which were at lethal levels during the New Dawn. This undercuts the hopeful message of Promethean.

Not quite true. The rules in Saturnine Night were that the leftover radiation when a Zeky completes their Pilgrimage has an intensity (1 is an old nuclear test site, 5 is an unshielded reactor) equal to your Azoth and and a damage bonus equal to 10-Humanity. For radiation poisoning, you add the two together and roll for damage, with the intensity determining the type. In the worst-case scenario, a Zeky with Azoth 5 and Humanity 1 takes 14 dice of aggravated damage, which a healthy human has a decent chance of surviving, although they probably die of story consequences before too long. A Zeky with the inverse (Humanity 5, Azoth 1 via going to the wastes) takes a couple of levels of bashing damage and is at an increased risk of cancer in the future, which is bad but not a death sentence.

Not to say that being a Zeky doesn't suck, though.

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Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Ironically, Beast. I'm not actually joking, I can't think of another game that's about meting out arbitrary and cruel punishment to satisfy your own warped sense of justice.

Realtalk, it depends on what exactly you want, because "gameable" is not a word I would associate with the works of Fletcher Hanks*. Fantomah has no character or relationships and unlimited power, which is hard to do in an RPG.

e: *Okay, I lie, I would totally play a Big Red McLane game about feuding loggers.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Night10194 posted:

I also still need a name for their party and have struggled to come up with one.

quote:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Barony of the Damned

quote:

Also, complex cycles of pig-based legends. I hope you're as excited about those as I am.

...Barons of Ham?

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Night10194 posted:

So, Barony of the Damned is probably the strongest WHFRP adventure book I've reviewed. I don't think there's much that really needs changing; about the only thing I'd really switch up is giving actual stats for Mallobaude (you gave all his minions stats so they can be in a fight some time, why not the big guy? Though I can fix that easily if I ever run a Mousillon game)

I forgot to comment on this earlier, but I think this is pretty obviously because Mallobaude's deal is a Mystery and giving him stats would narrow the possible solutions. Did he actually meet the Lady and learn some horrible truth? Did he drink from the Grail, or the Bloody Grail, or a rusty cup full of swamp water? Is he a patsy, getting played by or working for the Lady/vampires/Elves/Tzeentch/Gray Men/Skaven/Black Pig? You'd cut out of possibilities for games if you gave him canon stats.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Night10194 posted:

This could be the title for A Wizard and how that :smugwizard: bastard feels about everything.

Incidentally, are you going to post some of the art for A Wizard? It's got some real good art that adds a lot to the atmosphere.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


There's a blaxploitation d20 Modern hack.



Yes, all four of the credited authors are white guys, why do you ask?

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Wrestlepig posted:

If you know what I’ve missed specifically, let me know, but as far as I can tell the section on direct connections exclusively refers to a physical cable as part of the device getting plugged in, and the technomancer section doesn’t refer to it at all.

At least in 4e, Technomancers just did that sort of thing through a commlink (or spooky Resonance powers). You plug it in and use it as your starting point for hacking. Technomancers also need a commlink for storage, because the human brain can't store mp3s in Shadowrun.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Night10194 posted:

Blue Rose 2e

Infamously, noted bag of dicks theRPGPundit hated this game and he really hated that deer. It was meant to push the sinister ideological agenda of WICCAN COLLECTIVISM, it lacked verisimilitude and realism (i.e., sexism), it didn't reflect actual romantic fantasy (which apparently involves a lot of young women being horribly oppressed by sexism), and again, just could not get over that loving deer. There was a lot of "controversy" over the original Blue Rose back in 2005 and his crowd was behind most of it.

Anyway I'm not gonna grognards.txt this thread up any farther, except to say that he did coin the delightful term "venisonocracy", even if he meant it to be scathing.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


My DragonRaid character is Street Peter, who reaches out to the youth with the power of Christian rap.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


It's worth noting, loudly, that EvWOD is a product by shitbird Holden Shearer, who unless something truly remarkable has happened that I'm not aware of, should really only be brought up in the context of loving off forever.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Could you post an excerpt or two? I'm curious what the actual writing is like.

So far this doesn't sound terrible, just an ordinary kind of bad, but there's plenty of time to change that.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


The Lone Badger posted:

They're strong enough to heft a cannon as a handheld weapon, unfortunately they have superhuman strength not superhuman mass so the recoil sends them flying backwards in a thoroughly undignified fashion.

So what you're saying is that Blood Dragons should carry cannons that they shoot backwards, so they can hit the enemy with their sword faster.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013




Privateers and Gentlemen: WASPs at Sea

Privateers and Gentlemen is a historical RPG published in 1983; it takes place in the late Age of Sail - the latter half of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th. Players take the role of naval officers (usually junior), serving in either the venerable British Royal Navy, the scrappy new American Navy, or having struck out on their own as privateers. P&G is a companion to Heart of Oak, a wargaming set of rules for ship combat. The book of the rules covering the RPG side is technically titled Promotions and Prizes, but I'm going to keep calling the whole shebang Privateers and Gentlemen to keep things simple.

So, up front, Privateers and Gentlemen is a game from the dawn of (tabletop roleplaying) time, and it sure feels like it. I would describe the layout as "haphazard" or "garbage" depending on how tactful I was feeling, there's more questionable design decisions than there are pages, and there's a conspicuous lack of an editor credit. There's also a few things that... show the age of the game, to put it mildly. I'm not going to put the author personally on blast too much due to the age of the book, but I do hope he'd be apologetic about some of the things in this book if you asked him about it.

Speaking of which: Privateers and Gentlemen is credited to Jon Williams, better known as Walter Jon Williams these days, and who is probably most famous as the author of the modestly influential cyberpunk book Hardwired. The first books he wrote, however, were a series of Age of Sail novels by the same name as this game. I would guess, at the minimum, that they take a lot from the Horatio Hornblower and Aubrey-Maturin series, but I haven't read them, so I can't comment on their quality.

So! I'm going to go more-or-less in order by the book, so we start off with an introduction mostly just explaining all of the various things I just explained, as well as an early formulation of Rule Zero:

quote:

One thing I must emphasize: no rule in this booklet is inviolable, and any rule may be changed or overlooked with the agreement of the referee and the players. The rules should be considered guidelines only, and may be 'improved' by any additions the players see fit. I have seen more role-playing games ruined by pedantic adherence to a set of rules than from any other cause, and this should be avoided. For instance, strict interpretation of the rules might mean that, in a case in which there is more than one player, one might be stuck on shore for an entire game-year, while the others were at sea, battling for loot and promotion. However realistic this may be, it is not fair to the players; whether on shore or on board a ship, the referee ought to strive to keep the players together.

Which is a nice sentiment, particularly for the time, although "strict interpretation" in this case means "any interpretation".

Next is... character creation! Putting any kind of rules in an RPG handbook before it tells you to get to work is an innovation that would not exist until long past this game's time, as was the idea of separating out the character creation process from other rules (see my earlier comments about the layout). We are, of course, going to create a couple of characters, to demonstrate the... process. Oh lord is this a process. Now, pick up your 3d6, because it's time to roll for stats!

Characters in Privateers and Gentlemen have eight characteristics that are pretty much the D&D standard with a couple of stats getting split into two:

Strength is a stat in this game, as was mandated by US law until well into the '90s. If you have a high Strength, you can carry lots of stuff and hit people hard, you know the drill.

Sense Acuity is the clunky '80s name for your perception. It helps combat a little and you roll it for spot/listen/taste checks ( just a d20 roll under), it doesn't get a whole lot of rules attention.

Mass is, quite literally, just how big your character is. It's basically your HP, so if you roll up the world's chonkiest naval officer, you will be able to take more bullets and swords to the face, but you'll be easier to hit because of how big a target you present.

Constitution is your general toughness. Privateers and Gentlemen has lovingly rendered rules for the naval experience of getting a limb mangled and then having it sawed off by a surgeon, so this is a pretty helpful stat.

I'm going to quote the description of Intelligence verbatim:

quote:

Represents the innate ability of a character to learn and to perfrom [sic] the technical aspects of a sailor's life, and so does not measure intelligence per se. The technical details affected by Intelligence include: 1, ships' gunner, 2. sailing ability, and 3. general seamanship, including making landfalls, navigation, and maneuvering a ship out of difficult situations. Intelligence also helps to determine how many foreign languages a player-character can learn.

So, this is your ability to do sailor stuff, and also, despite what the game claims, your general smarts score. You might suspect that in a game all about playing sailors, this is pretty important, and you would absolutely be right. This is this game's undisputed god-stat.

Dexterity! As per usual, if you want to fight anyone, you want a good score in this.

Intuition's main effect is that the referee (NOT the player, we are forcefully instructed) can roll this for you to see if you can get a clue about the current situation or, more specifically, tell if someone is lying. There's a whole shitload of :words: about how human intuition works (in our actual world) and what penalties you might take to the roll and how referees should smack their player's hands if they start asking for Intuition checks too often and on and on, and overall as I player I would take away the distinct impression that none of this is worth it, outside of the lie detector function. Also the roll is a d20 roll under and a 20 is critical failure that gets you "exactly the opposite information from what happens to be the case", so have fun with that.

Charisma actually isn't necessarily a dump stat here, since the PCs have a whole crew of proles to keep in line. The lash only gets you so far in preventing mutiny.

While rolling your stats is bog-standard D&D 3d6 down-the-line, Privateers and Gentlemen is unusually generous for a game of its time. It suggests that either A) if you roll up a terrible character, you should be allowed to reroll, or B) you should roll three sets of stats and take the best. We'll be doing the latter.

I rolled:
code:
STR SA  MA CON INT DEX INU CHA	Total
12, 10, 10, 16, 07, 11, 13, 13	92
14, 15, 17, 16, 09, 10, 11, 07 	99
17, 14, 16, 12, 10, 13, 14, 09 	105 
The average stat total here would be 84, so these are actually a pretty good set of rolls. None of them have exceptional Intelligence, so we'll take the highest total stats, third one. Our so-far nameless seaman is strong, big, perceptive in multiple senses of the word, and ok at everything else (stats give penalties at 7- and bonuses at 14+, usually).

Next up are our "aptitudes", which are your combat modifiers, derived from several different stats. We have Strike for melee attacks; this affected by your Strength, Intelligence, Sense Acuity, and Dexterity. Our seaman gets +10 for Strength 17 and nothing else. Shoot is for ranged attacks, based on your Intelligence, Sense Acuity, and Dexterity, and our seaman gets nada. The last one is Parry, your melee defense, taken from Strength, Dexterity, Intuition, and, shockingly, not Intelligence. Our seaman again gets +5 for their massive Strength, but no other modifiers.
code:
Strike 10, Shoot 0, Parry 5
Now we come to skills; Privateers and Gentlemen has an amazingly svelte list of skills that are all of equal importance to actually playing the game and pfffffffffft sorry, no, your Geology score starts at 1. There aren't any actual choices to be made, though, as skills all have a value that is either a flat value, based on one or more statistics, or is a random roll, so at least you don't have to sacrifice your skill at things like "swimming" or "knowing how to repair the ship" in order to be a better sea shanty singer.

When you use a skill, it's just a d20 roll, trying to get under or equal to your skill level. Simple enough. There are 29 skills, which is relatively reasonable compared to some of the games covered in these threads, but I'm just going to the call out the ones I have comments on:

Carriage Driving is a straight d20 roll, with a max of 19 (the game doesn't say whether you reroll on a 20 or just count it as a 19 or what). No, this game doesn't have amphibious carriages. Unfortunately.

Every character has Forgery and Lockpick, both starting at a flat 4. As we'll see in a second, character can be of wildly diverging backgrounds and social class, but this doesn't have any effect on their skills, oddly enough. Also, when you forge an official document, you have to make one roll for the handwriting, and then roll d6 to see how many stupidly ornate seals it has. Each one requires its own Forgery roll.

Hide keys off your Intelligence and Constitution. The reasoning is that you have to use Int to find a place to hide and then Con to stay there for a long time without sneezing or whatever, which, sure, whatever.

Literary Gent is "the ability to understand and use conventional literary formulations of the day." It's a flat d10 roll and while it's of highly questionable usefulness, I just wanted to call it out because it has a great name.

Make Speech is half your Intelligence plus d10. What, you thought your Charisma would have something to do here?

Play Instrument is, of course, divided into a nigh-infinite number of subskills. The explicit example is that you can have a 19 in playing the harpsichord but a 2 in the German flute. Regardless, you start with 0 in all of them.

Swim is actually a relevant skill in this game, but your skill level, like Carriage Driving, is just a flat d20. We're informed that you can swim for Str+Con minutes, half that if you're wearing any clothes (you have to roll Dex to get these off), double that if you're just floating. What happens next is not actually stated. Presumably you drown.

Our seaman's full skill list, with what the starting score is derived from in parentheses. If there's nothing, it's just a flat rate:
code:
Astronomy 10 (Int)	
Biology 1	
Carriage Driving 13 (d20, max 19)	
Chemistry 1 
Climb 17 (Dex, plus d6 for "sailors")	
Dance 13 (Dex)	
First Aid 4	
Forgery 4
General Knowledge 4	
Geology 1	
Haggle 10 (average of Int and Cha)
Hide 11 (average of Int and Con)
History 10 (Int)	
Law 4	
Literary Gent 10 (d10)	
Lockpick 4
Make Speech 12 (half Int plus d10)
Mapmaking 10 (Int)
Mechanics 3
Move Quietly 13 (Dex, "but may not be higher than SA")
Play Instrument 0
Pick Pocket 1
Ride 3 (d20, max 19)
Shipwright 10 (Int)
Sing 13 (half Cha plus d10)
Swim 5 (d20, max 19)
Weather Prediction 10 (Int)
Write Own Language 10 (Int)
Write Foreign Language ERROR NOT FOUND (skill in the Language/5, we'll get there)
Whew! So, as you've probably noticed, our seaman has an abysmal chance at doing a lot of things, some quite basic, although the game is gracious enough to give use a decent base chance at doing many sailor-ly things like climbing on the rigging and navigating by stars. If we want to know things about rocks, practice law, or, God help us, play the accordion, though, we're poo poo out of luck. So how do we get that Forgery score up so we can falsify all of those impractically fancy British documents? Let's meet a thoroughly baffling paragraph!



:psyduck:

So, a strict reading of this would suggest that we can add our Int of 10 plus 1/5 of our social level (the next major step; it's a d100 roll, so an average of ~50), for a total of 15, to any skills we choose (so, all of them?). Our seaman, with very average rolls for both, would have perfect or close-to-perfect skills at everything. This obviously does not make a whole lot of sense, so what does a more loose reading suggest?

:iiam: Unfortunately, none of the NPCs in the books have skills, so I can't try to backsolve the math. This game doesn't have a particularly robust online community, either, so Google hasn't been helpful. I suspect the intention might have been to only allow you to apply it to the various skills that start with abysmal ratings, but I have no idea. For the sake of this character creation example, we're just going to ignore it, and allow our seaman to continue to be hopeless at Biology.


EDIT: Some very kind souls pointed out that I missed one of the obvious readings of this; take your Int score plus 1/5 Social Level as a pool of points and distribute them to your skills. Whoops!

We're still not done with skills, though, as there are three Intelligence skills. These directly relate to various aspects of seamanship and are way more important than the other skills. The skills are Gunnery (your cannons), Ship Quality (your ship's speed), and General Seamanship, which, as the name implies, covers literally everything else - leaving port without loving up like a moron, avoiding damage in a storm, discovering latitude/longitude, and a bunch of other things. They all have a base score of your Intelligence, not that the book tells you that - I had to figure it out by looking at the NPC statblocks. Our seaman has an Intelligence of 10, so they start with 10 in all three.
code:
Gunnery 10, Ship Quality 10, General Seamanship 10
There's a couple of miscellaneous things crammed in between skills and the next important bit; first is languages. We get English for free and one extra for having an Intelligence of 10. The book notes that most educated men would know French (the "international language"), Latin ("the language of science"), and have a "working knowledge" of classical Greek. You need a 17-18 in Intelligence to receive three bonus languages, so our seaman will just have to make do with French. We have to flip to another section to see how foreign languages actually work; you just roll d100 with some modifiers for low/high Int and the language family. You get a bonus for learning a language related to one you already know and a hefty penalty for languages outside of the Indo-European family. We roll 65+10, which means our seaman "can argue and bargain as well as any native speaker." Native speakers will probably assume they're also native, just with an unfamiliar accent. This also means we can go back and fill in our Write Foreign Language skill.
code:
Write Foreign Language (French) 15

Languages: English, French 75
Keep in mind that our character has a Write Native Language of 10 from Intelligence, so they can actually write better in French than they can in English.

Handedness is the other thing crammed in here - you know how this works in RPGs, hold your sword in your good hand when you try to hit people with it. We roll an 84, which means our seaman is (just barely) left-handed. A roll of 100 indicates "completely ambidextrous", if you're curious.

Next up is social level!



As the game says, class was extremely important to both society and the military in the 18th and 19th centuries, so making it a big part of the game makes sense. So, let's see what we roll, I'm getting tired of just calling our so far nameless PC "seaman". We're going to roll a d100 - oh wait, there's more.



um



oh god it just keeps going (Uriah Levy sounds pretty cool though)



What the gently caress, Jon Williams? I'm just going to leave you to goggle in awe at that lovely Voltron of awful GM-ing and offensiveness and pick this back up later.

Next time: We learn if our PC made the .015% chance to be heir to the throne of Britain!

Tulul fucked around with this message at 21:56 on Nov 7, 2021

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Kaza42 posted:

I'm pretty sure Education is meant to apply that total amount spread out among stats, as a means of customizing or fleshing out a character

gently caress, I should have known someone would take one look at it and figure it out. :doh:

The perils of staring too long at old gaming manuals. I'll update the post in a bit.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013



Privateers and Gentlemen, Part Two

So, now that we know our character is a white British man, let's roll to see what stratum of white British man he is by rolling for social level. Specifically, we're rolling to see what our father is, which is, needless to say, the prime determinant as to what parties we get invited to in 18th century British high society.


This is the European chart, incidentally - there's a separate one for Americans.

I roll a 91, meaning our seaman is nobility, if only by a hair. Next up: are we a bastard?


Fun fact: The average European naval officer has a 15% chance of being born out of wedlock, while their American counterparts have only a 6% chance!

I roll a 33, so even with the +25 for being the spawn of a noble, we're still a legitimate child.

Now we have to roll for our position in the family. We roll a 28, meaning we're the second son - not daddy's favorite.

Speaking of daddy, now we have to roll to see if the old bastard is still alive. There's a 30% chance that he's shuffled off this mortal and I roll a 16, so, uh, FAAAAATHHHHHHHHERRRRRRRR! Incidentally, if he wasn't already dead, there's a flat 10% chance that he'll die every year that passes in the game thereafter.

Now! Even though papa is dead as a doornail, his connections could still help us - we have to roll to see if our father served in the Navy. I get a 42, so he didn't. There's an additional 10% chance that a brother is serving, but I biff that too with an 84. Having relatives helps you gain Notice, which is the game's system for having the favor of your superiors and whatnot. If we did have relatives in the service, there's a yearly flat chance of them getting promoted, dying, or retiring in a father's case (10%/10%/20%).

With the parental dragon dead, it's time for the kids to divvy up the loot.


The star means the eldest son inherits an estate in the country and house in an appropriate city. The eldest son also gets 150% of the money listed in both allowance and patrimony - the bastard. Actual bastards still get 50% of the listed money, by the way.

If our father was alive, we'd get a yearly allowance on our birthday ("players may pick their own birthdays and birth-years, or roll dice for them"). With his death, though, we get a single lump sum - the patrimony - and are then told to gently caress off forever. The game doesn't specify how to figure out when our father died, so I'll assume he died before we started receiving an allowance and we just get the patrimony. I roll an 18, so unfortunately, our noble is one of the ones who is only rich in spirit. We get 1000 pounds and will learn what we can spend it on shortly.

Onto section 1.3B - names and forms of address. There's a whole quarter page on the latter (i.e. a marquess is "Most Honorable" and all that), that amusingly ends with the note that none of it applies in the Navy. Everyone above you in a uniform is just a "sir" unless you're being a huge boot-licker or the officer is exceptionally snobby. The only relevant part to us is that knightships aren't hereditary, so we don't get the knightly sir. Now we just need an appropriately British name.



That'll do.

Now that I can finally stop referring to Smitty as "seaman", it's time to roll up his lifepaths!


Hm?

No, really. There aren't any actual choices to be made, but this game does have you roll a bunch to see what happens in your naval career prior to play starting. The assumption is that players start the game as lieutenants, so let's roll our way through our career as a midshipman. First we need to roll to see what age we were when we entered the Navy, which is 20-1d6. I get a 5, so Vivian joined at the age of 15. Age 19 is the minimum to try to earn promotion to Lieutenant, so he has at least 4 years to get through before he's a viable PC. There's a list of stuff to do each year, so let's go in order:



...I rolled a 1. :ohdear: So we're going to have to skip ahead a bit. There's not a section called "Wound Procedure", so I have to make a couple of assumptions about this process - I'll take it as a flat d6 damage (no armor or anything) to a random hit location (yes, this game has hit locations). I roll a 20, which means it hit Vivian's head, and then a 6 for max damage (a punch is 1d3 and a pistol is 1d8, for comparison). Consulting the Damage Points (your HP) chart, Vivian has the maximum possible for being a swole giant (Mass 16, +1 for Str 17) - unfortunately, the maximum DP in your head is still only 5.


Torso 1 is the part with your vital organs and Torso 2 is the less essential bits, if you're curious.

All is not lost, however, as you only instantly die if your DP is reduced to -2 or less. Vivian has such a thick skull that he's merely at -1, which is just incapacitated, so he survives to experience the tender mercies of 18th century naval medicine. We have to roll to see what kind of wound he's received, from "Light" to "Near-Fatal", which determines how hard it is to recover from. I get a very not-nice 69, which means Vivian suffered a Serious Wound. Even more rolling has to be done to see how it progresses - I get a 24, which means that d6 (3) days later, it progresses to Near-Fatal. Another d100 roll comes up 60, and...



...oops. Three days after being stabbed in the head with a shortsword (the only weapon that does d6 damage), a 15-year-old Vivian Smith-Smythe Smith takes a turn for the worse, then two days later, dies. Tear up his character sheet and start over. :xcom:

code:
Name: Vivian Smith-Smythe Smith
Alive: Nope

STR 17, SA 14, MASS 16, CON 12, INT 10, DEX 13, INU 14, CHA 09
Gunnery 10, Ship Quality 10, General Seamanship 10
Strike 10, Shoot 0, Parry 5

SKILLS: Astronomy 10, Biology 1, Carriage Driving 13, Chemistry 1, Climb 17, Dance 13, First Aid 4, Forgery 4, General Knowledge 4, Geology 1, Haggle 10, Hide 11, History 10, Law 4, Literary Gent 10, Lockpick 4, Make Speech 12, Mapmaking 10, Mechanics 3, Move Quietly 13, Play Instrument 0, Pick Pocket 1, Ride 3, Shipwright 10, Sing 13, Swim 5, Weather Prediction 10, Write Own Language 10, Write Foreign Language (French) 15

Languages:	English, French 75
Handedness: 	Left
Social Level: 	91 - Knight
Family:		Legit. second son; Father deceased
Equipment:	1000 pounds
Next time: Privateering! Politics! Actually finishing character creation!

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


PurpleXVI posted:

So I realize it's a quite unlikely roll, but what's the asterisk for being a spawn of the King?

TK_Nyarlathotep posted:

Also I like that not only was that death, like, A Death, but you got to roll to see how bad of a death it was, and not only does it have a 75% chance of death, but the remaining 25% is that the wound gets worse

Angrymog posted:

I think that the last category is that it goes from Near Fatal back down to Serious.
Yeah, wounds go Light -> Incapacitating -> Serious -> Near-Fatal, so your wound becoming Serious is actually your health improving, the writer just forgot to capitalize "serious" there. I'll do a more thorough covering of the wound system when I get to it, the whole thing is pretty entertaining in a grisly, Dark Heresy-esque way. I didn't even get into the Amputation Survival table!


Privateers and Gentlemen, Part 3

So last time, our nascent PC died, which is a decidedly suboptimal result when making a character. Unlike, say, black box Traveller, dying is pretty unlikely in Privateers and Gentlemen - the chance of something bad happening to your character is pretty small, and even if you are wounded, the 1d6 damage you take is pretty survivable if you don't take the max to the head and then roll poorly on all of the wound tables. Still, it's possible.

Anyway, it's time to bring on the next twit! :wotwot:



We're going to speed through everything Vivian already covered, to keep this brief. Stats and Aptitudes!

code:
Strength 13, Sense Acuity 9, Mass 17, Constitution 14, Intelligence 16, Dexterity 11, Intuition 11, Charisma 7
Strike +5, Shoot +5, Parry +0
I rolled three sets like last time, this is just the best one.

Big as gently caress, smart, and tough, but with all the charm you would expect of someone named "St. John-Mollusc". Skills!

code:
SKILLS
Astronomy 16, Biology 1, Carriage Driving 19, Chemistry 1, Climb 12, Dance 11, First Aid 4, Forgery 4, 
General Knowledge 4, Geology 1, Haggle 12, Hide 15, History 16, Law 4, Literary Gent 3, Lockpick 4, 
Make Speech 13, Mapmaking 16, Mechanics 3, Move Quietly 9, Play Instrument 0, Pick Pocket 1, Ride 5, Shipwright 16, 
Sing 6, Swim 9, Weather Prediction 16, Write Own Language 16, Write Foreign Language (French) 16 (Latin) 12

Gunnery 16, Ship Quality 16, General Seamanship 16
Also, he gets two extra languages (French 81 and Latin 58) and is right-handed. He gets bonus points from Intelligence and Social Level, but I'll wait to stick those in until later when we know more about Oliver than "British twit". Time for Social Level.

code:
Social Level: 	66 - Gentleman
Family:		Legit. fourth son; Father living - serving as Master and Commander in Navy
Other: 		Allowance (10 pounds)
66 is "Gentleman or Clergyman", so I flipped a coin.

Unlike Vivian, Oliver's father is not only alive, but still in the Navy! That could be helpful. Onto his career as a midshipman, where Vivian got cut short last time. First up, I rolled a 1, so he joined the Navy at 19, which will allow him to immediately try for promotion after his year as a midshipman. Next:


Oh dear.

Don't worry, I rolled a 76, so Oliver has avoided any untimely head injuries, at least for now. What now?



...I rolled a 2. :coronatoot:

So what is the "Disease Survival Procedure"?



Note that this is actually preceded by a lot of :words: about scurvy and smallpox and yellow fever and all of the other horrible ways you could die of disease in the 18th century, but oddly, every single illness is just the one table without any modifiers for the kind of disease or similar.

Oh, right, I have to roll some dice.



Goddammit, no, we only have a limited supply of twits, I can't keep losing them like this. Fortunately, there's an addendum to the chart:


Constitution is pretty nice to have in this game.

That's right, Oliver St. John-Mollusc, with his above-average Constitution of 14, is incapable of dying of disease. Oliver is laid up for 77 weeks (almost a year-and-a-half!) with, let's say scurvy because it's fun to say, but survives, albeit with a couple of points shaved off his Con that will make any future instances of scurvy somewhat dicier. He rejoins the Navy at the first opportunity and proceeds on his way through character creation. Thankfully, we're done with the roll-to-see-if-you-died portion; we roll to see if we achieved Notice. What is Notice?



Whether you've been noticed, of course. Notice isn't a score, by the way; either you have it or you don't. Oddly enough, there don't appear to be any explicit ways to lose Notice, even though there are plenty of chances to gain it. Also, despite the game talking it up, the mechanical effects are fairly minor, and it mostly is just vague "good things might happen to you if you have it". Anyway, for a midshipman, it's a d100 roll, trying to get 96-100. There are a number of modifiers for various things from Social Level to Charisma, but Oliver's only modifier is that he gets +15 for having a father currently in the service. I roll a 73, though, so it doesn't help.

Next up, we get a chance to improve our Intelligence skills; those are Gunnery, Ship Quality, and General Seamanship. You roll 3d6 and try to roll under-or-equal to (20 - Intelligence); so it's easier to improve your skills if you're a dumbass and they started to low, but it gets harder as they improve. As a midshipman, we get two rolls for each skill:
code:
Gunnery: 9, 10 
Ship Quality: 11, 12 
Gen. Seamanship: 4, 12
Surprisingly, Oliver manage to bump up his General Seamanship by one, which is very nice. This directly ties into the next part, too, promotion, which is just a 3d6 roll-under-or-equal to your General Seamanship. I don't roll triple sixes, so Oliver gets bumped up to Lieutenant and exits character creation alive and well! :toot:

There are still a couple of things to take care of: first, we get prize money each year as a midshipman, which is a pretty wide range of 1d6 times 1d20. I get 4 and 6 for a total of 24 pounds. We also get our allowance of 10 pounds every year (which is two, due to Oliver's 1.48 years in bed). Then, if you remember, we also have to roll each year to see what happens to our father. This is a bunch of rolls that I'm not going to type out, but the upshot is that in our second year, father dearest bites it (:rip:). We make off with 500 pounds from the inheritance, though! Score! Oliver is now rolling in 544 pounds. :homebrew:

Oliver can't just blow that all on booze, though, we do need to actually buy him some equipment with that, as there's no default provided. There's a giant list of stuff to buy, but what we need is, according to the game:


We also need a watch, which is stated earlier.

All together, this runs us 26 pounds. What else could we buy with our remaining 518 pounds? Well, my favorite item on the chart is the "borough", as in what was essentially considered, legally speaking, to be an entire loving town in England, thereby allowing you to functionally own a seat or two in the House of Commons. However, at a whopping 200,000 pounds it's slightly out of our price range. There's all sorts of other stuff on the chart that has no mechanical effect, like cabin furnishings of various levels of fancifulness, plus stuff that's of dubious use at best on a ship, like horses, but let's not worry about that for the moment and just grab the stuff that would actually be useful in a game.

First up: We need a wig.


Like so.

As you can see from the portrait of this real-life toff (Admiral Cloudesley Shovell (seriously)), wigs in the time period of the game had a tendency to be loving gargantuan. So large, in fact, that they count as armor:



:allears: We'll pony up 12 pounds for a dress wig and 2 for a non-dress wig, keeping Oliver both fashionable and safe. What else? Well, we could upgrade our sword, which is merely "acceptable", but a "good" sword costs literally ten times as much (2 v. 20) and provides no actual mechanical benefit. The best type, a "superb" sword, does have a single mechanical benefit, but it's of, um, questionable value.


From the critical failure table, which you roll on if you get a 96-100 on an attack, then fail a Dex check.

A superb sword costs 100 pounds in exchange for that, so we'll skip it. We do need pistols, though, in case someone is inconsiderate enough to not put themselves within stabbing distance. Like swords, there are three grades of pistols: ordinary, dueling, and rifled. They all do the same damage, but get better range as you upgrade. There are also double-barreled pistols and duckfoot pistols. We'll pick up a dueling pistol (20 pounds), a pair of ordinary pistols (2 pounds each), and a duckfoot pistol (50 pounds), because why not? Oliver is left with 432 pounds, which is a nice enough reserve for any future needs.

With that, we're finally done with character creation! Oliver's final character sheet:

code:
Name: Oliver St. John-Mollusc
Rank: Lieutenant (Royal Navy)
Age:  21

STR 13, SA 9, MA 17, CON 12, INT 16, DEX 11, INU 11, CHA 07
Gunnery 16, Ship Quality 16, General Seamanship 17
Strike 5, Shoot 5, Parry 0

SKILLS
Astronomy 16, Biology 1, Carriage Driving 19, Chemistry 1, Climb 12, Dance 11, First Aid 4, Forgery 4, 
General Knowledge 4, Geology 1, Haggle 12, Hide 15, History 16, Law 4, Literary Gent 3, Lockpick 4, 
Make Speech 13, Mapmaking 16, Mechanics 3, Move Quietly 9, Play Instrument 0, Pick Pocket 1, Ride 5, Shipwright 16, 
Sing 6, Swim 9, Weather Prediction 16, Write Own Language 16, Write Foreign Language (French) 16 (Latin) 12
 
Languages:	English, French 81, Latin 58
Handedness: 	Right
Social Level: 	66 - Gentleman
Family:		Legit. fourth son; Father deceased, served as Master and Commander in Navy
Gear: 		432 pounds; Uniform (dress), uniform (regular) x2, shoes (dress), shoes (regular) x2, wig (dress), wig (regular), 
		sword (acceptable), pistol (dueling), pistol (ordinary) x2, pistol (duckfoot), watch
Next time: Oliver St. John-Mollusc gets a job.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


PurpleXVI posted:

Is it actually viable to start with enough money to buy your own English town? :v: Like maybe if you're a son of the king and he bites it and you roll super high on your inheritance?

Because it would be pretty funny to have the game start with "Alright lads, we're buying a town, putting to shore, resigning our commissions. Let's be politicians, I bet we have better combat stats than anyone in parliament."

Yes, actually.



If you're on the top tier, you get enough to afford two boroughs!

Although it's worth noting that the boroughs in question are only legally towns; the whole issue at the times was that the geographical boundaries of the boroughs weren't being updated, so you had these barely-populated areas that were entitled to representation, because they were a thriving market town back in the 1300s (and conversely, some highly populated areas went without any representation). This meant that you, you being a rich fucker, could buy up all the land and housing in one of these mostly empty areas, and force all of your tenants to vote for whoever you wanted. Ballots weren't secret until well after the time of this game, so nothing prevented you from evicting anyone who didn't vote the way you wanted. :capitalism:

The Reform Act of 1832 would put a stop to it, but thankfully for unscrupulous PCs, that's outside the timeline of this game.

By popular demand posted:

How much is a ship for comparison? Most people I know would prefer buying an armada.

Oddly enough, there aren't any actual rules for how much it costs to purchase or order a ship. The closest thing is the prize money rate for ships you capture:



This is explicitly less than it would cost to pay for a new ship, though, as you're basically selling it used. I'd assume it's not that much more - according to Wikipedia, the famous HMS Victory (a first-rate ship of the line ordered in 1758) cost 63,176 pounds (and 3 shillings), which is pretty close to the 60k in prize money the game lists.

Although then you've gotta pay for the 100+ guns and all of the other supplies you need to outfit it, plus the nearly 1000 people you need to crew it, which is going to cost you (and the game does have rules for that).

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Halloween Jack posted:

Nine Eleven is a potent healing spell which restores 5d10 SP, starting with any FIT damage youíve accrued! It can also regenerate lost limbs and injuries that mortals canít normally heal.

Wowzers, that's a slightly unfortunate name for a spell in a game that is strongly presented as being set in NYC (:911:). At least it's not a fireball spell or something.

Was that actual slang back in the day?

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Hostile V posted:

Unless actually written in text as 9/11 it's probably supposed to be either 911 or 9-1-1 considering how that's the number for emergencies or an ambulance and that's a pretty potent healing spell you'd want in an emergency.

I was assuming that's where it came from (admittedly, it took me until I was typing out 911 emote to twig to it), I was just wondering if the writers were being cute or if they got it from somewhere else.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013



Privateers and Gentlemen, Part 3.5

I forgot a tiny bit of character creation, so I'm going to stick it into its own mini-update before we get to the meat of how you play this game, or rather, how you roll to see if you're allowed to play this game.



Yep, that's right, we can join a party, but not the fun kind. We've got our choice of the Tories or Whigs. What's the difference? Well, I'm going to just let the book do the talking here.


The following section on American politics takes up almost an entire page. Age of Sail politics are obviously a subject Williams had some opinions on.

Well, I don't know that much about 18th-century British politics (and thus can't comment on how accurate the author's presentation is), but I know for a fact that the Tories are the biggest twits in modern day Britain, so we'll say Oliver is a Tory. Now what does that do for him mechanically? Not a whole lot; you roll a d100 when you get assigned under a new superior. On a 51-70, he's a Tory, on a 71-100, he's a Whig, and otherwise he's unaligned. If you match, you get +5 to your Notice checks, if he's from the opposite party, you get -5.

quote:

Other effects of party politics will be up to the referee, who is urged to remember that politicians will rarely hold back from ruining a man for life if it means political advantage... remember Admiral Byng!

So with a strictly inferior mechanical benefit, no real effect on the actual political positions your character might hold (at least according to the author), and any story benefits completely up to the Referee, being a Tory in 18th-century Britain is about as appealing as being a Tory in 21st-century Britain. Oliver hosed up. Whoops.

Next Time: No, seriously, you actually have to roll to see if you're allowed to play the game.

Tulul fucked around with this message at 01:04 on Nov 25, 2021

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Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Kurieg posted:

I'm honestly amazed at the Game Designer chutzpah to put "d616" to paper.

I'm surprised no one else has pointed this out yet, but the chief designer, or at least the only person to get their name on the cover, is Matt Forbeck, who might be better known as the person behind Brave New World, the not-very-good-but-very-'90s superhero RPG that Alien V did a comprehensive review of in these threads.

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