What I’ve Been Up To…

So what exactly have I been up to of late instead of working on my ConsOps game? I’ve been working on a sci-fi game (using Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition rules) that I’ll be running some time after GenCon with our F2F group.

Started setting up an Obsidian Portals site for it and everything: The Verge.

It’s not going to be using the canon Traveller background, but rather a pre-existing homebrew setting that is mostly the brainchild of one of the players that he’s run before. Though to be far, the home system the PCs will be in is all mine.

Despite not using canon Traveller, I am leaning toward using a version of the Tripwire … adventure path, I suppose? Big difference, though, is that it’ll stay in-system the whole time with the PCs going to moons instead of new star systems. My intent with the game is to be very Expanse-like, so that’ll be “fun.”

Bad Blogger: Kingmaker and Excuses

So, yeah. I’ve been absent for the last week or so. I blame the official release of the Pathfinder: Kingmaker video game. I’ve been playing it almost nonstop. Admittedly, it’s still a bit buggy – Owlcat Games is a pretty small studio and, as someone who also works in a small software development company as the QA guy, I know all about how easily it is to break the software without realizing it. As a result of that, I’ve been pretty lenient on these guys, especially with how responsive they’ve been. The game dropped on Tuesday and they’ve released 5 hotfixes as of yesterday to resolve major issues. Sure, that’s indicative of a lot of issues, but it’s software.

Anyway, my current character is a Magus with the archetype Sword Saint and it amuses me to no end that his AC is, during a fight, higher than the tank’s even though he’s only wearing a chain shirt and she’s got full plate and a tower shield. Admittedly, he can’t hit the broad side of a barn unless he’s either lucky (really high d20 roll) or I cast True Strike (which gives me a +20 to hit), but that’s not the point. I’m currently into chapter 2 of that adventure path which is fighting the trolls. I’ve got another character – an aasimar paladin – who is into chapter 3 (which we just finished in our face-to-face group) but that game hit an irritating recursive loop bug in my capital so it’s pretty much dead.

Overall, I am enjoying the game though I did have to dial down the difficulty because man, they seriously ramped that up! I suppose it goes to the whole “you can reload” mindset which isn’t available in a F2F game, but honestly, if my 1st and 2nd level characters were running into random bandits with AC 22 or 23 like in this game with “default” difficulty level, I’d be wigging at at my GM. Case in point: my 3rd level PCs had a random encounter yesterday with an Elder Fire Elemental. That’s a CR11 creature! Before I’d really realized how insane this was, two of the six characters in my group were dead. Naturally, I reloaded and, from what I’ve gleaned on the Owlcat forums, that was fixed in the latest hotfix so random encounters are more level appropriate.

I’ll try to remember to post an image of the “character sheet” for my current PC…

Relocating to MY Site and the Face-To-Face Game

I’ve been having a lot of issues with Blogger of late and, since Doug Cole over at Gaming Ballistic has been unable to get info from the old blog for GURPSDay, so I’ve migrated to my own site. Much easier to handle, I think.

Also, for my F2F group, the current GM of our ongoing D&D 5E said he has about 3 to 4 sessions until he reaches a solid end point. Given our inconsistency with actual play – e.g., no game this Friday – I’ve realistically got … right up to the beginning of GenCon. Argh. I don’t want to start “Red Sky” and then lose an entire week to the trip, so I may end up taking a week where we just do some ‘fight club’ around to remind everyone what their characters can actually do…

Fraking Gaming Muses

Grumble, grumble, mutter, mutter. So irritated right now because my brain is jumping in like a dozen different directions with regards to gaming. What I should be doing is working for setup on the game I run for my face-to-face group – GURPS Monster Hunters set in the Dresden Files universe – but instead, I’ve been instead reading this Mongoose Traveller campaign (“Secrets of the Ancients”) and making notes for how to convert a lot of that to GURPS for the Saturday Fantasy Grounds group. We’re currently playing Traveller in that under … uh … GM #2, I think? No. It’s #3, though really, #2 only ran for about four sessions. Anyway, we’re playing now and the GM has indicated he intends to run for a while so we’ll probably be ready to switch genres when he’s done yet my brain has decided it would like to take over after him.

I need this like a I need a hole in the head. I simply have too much to contemplate already, dammit.

  1. GURPS: Red Sky. As stated, Monster Hunters set in the Dresden Files world. F2F group.
  2. GURPS: Casus Belli. 5th Century Gwynedd, sort of a pseudo kingdom building, low fantasy, Low Tech game. Fantasy Grounds.
  3. GURPS: Jade Regent. Reskin of the Pathfinder campaign using Dungeon Fantasy. Fantasy Grounds.
  4. GURPS: Traveller. See above.
  5. GURPS: Cons Ops. Action game scenario I sort of hammered out earlier (though this is really only 3 to 5 sessions…)

Counting Bullets

Took my pistol to the range this a.m. and put a couple hundred rounds though it (225, to be precise.) While my miserable shot grouping isn’t the subject of this post – clearly, I only have a single point in Guns (Pistol) – what did occur to me is how frequently I lost track of the bullet count and was momentarily surprised when my magazine was empty.

This led me to thinking: how is it that PCs in a RPG are able to know exactly how many rounds they actually have fired? In an Ultra Tech situation, that’s easy – an ammo counter might display this, ala the M41A Pulse Rifle of Aliens fame or perhaps the character has a HUD running that tells him this – but in a more modern society? I spent four years in the Army as an infantryman and even in a carefully controlled environment like a gun range, I lose track of my count.

In GURPS: Tactical Shooting, there’s a bit about Situational Awareness on page 11 that remarks simply that the game presumes everyone is aware of things that are difficult to monitor in real life, but doesn’t include ammo count; mostly, it’s about being able to track additional threats and the like, but this also seems like an appropriate thing that a good shooter should be aware of. Later, on page 32, there’s a bit about “Harsh Realism for Tactical Shooters” but to my surprise, no reference to bullet counting.

Now, for someone with the Gunslinger advantage, for example, it makes perfect sense to ignore this as they are likely immediately aware of exactly how many rounds a specific firearm has expended. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Sterling Archer. But what about less experienced shooters?

My first instinct is to say “ignore this for anyone with Combat Reflexes” and then apply an extra second (or even two!) to reload times for those without to reflect the “BANG! BANG! Click! Crap! I’m out of ammo!” bit.

Still considering…

Paladin Thoughts

In our Friday game, we’re playing D&D 5E with a relatively new GM, with a fascinating campaign concept: the PCs are legendary heroes pulled from the past to deal with a great threat … unfortunately, they were pulled from the timestream before they could become the legends. I decided that I would play a Paladin but wanted to do something slightly different and came up with a concept: the Traitor-Knight. Essentially, in his past-future, he would go on to become reviled by most of the populace due to his siding with the losers of the inevitable war that leads to the current status quo.

But that’s not what this post is really about. Instead, I wanted to throw out some interesting musings on Holy Knights like this.

Having spent entirely too much time yesterday reading through the Psi-Wars stuff by Mailanka, I was influenced by his Communion take, specifically with regards to the whole avatar thing. Related to this was a scene in the Dresden Files book, Changes, while Karrin Murphy is wielding Fidelacchius, one of the Swords. When facing some super vampires with major mind mojo, she cries out:

“False gods!” she cried, her blue eyes blazing as she stared at the Red King and the Lords of Outer Night. “Pretenders! Usurpers of truth! Destroyers of faith, of families, of lives, of children! For your crimes against the Mayans, against the peoples of the world, now will you answer! Your time has come! Face judgement Almighty!”

Okay, so this is pretty standard for a paladin, yeah? I mean, it isn’t hard to believe a paladin would exclaim this sort of thing, right? The very next sentence is what made me go “Hmm…”

I think I was the only one close enough to see the shock in her eyes, and I realized that it wasn’t Murphy speaking the words – but someone else speaking them through her.

So, what if, when a paladin channels his or her deity’s holy might, what he or she is actually doing is opening himself to become (albeit temporarily) his or her deity’s literal avatar?

This is definitely something that bears further investigation, particularly since I’m likely going to be running Dungeon Fantasy for the Saturday group in the near future …