Tuesday, March 31, 2020

WthC - Setting thoughts Masks

Current events have got me thinking on some of the setting 'appearance' for Welcome To The City. Since most games will be taking place in a densely populated urban environment and surrounding areas any sort of viral outbreak would be a bad thing indeed. Most likely they would have already experienced them a few times with the overall lack of cleanliness of the City. I mean it's a grim, dirty place with little to no oversight on pollution controls, waste dumping and about every other bad thing you can think about. So people will do what they can to try to give themselves even the slightest bit of protection.

Looking at areas where there is heavy viral outbreak one of those things would be facemasks that cover the nose and mouth. The poorest of folks would be using old shirt material, scarves and whatever else they can find. Eventually leading to those who can afford hard shelled units with full filtration. But where there is a desire for a product the capitalistic world that is the City will also step right in to sell you something.

Custom designs, logo's, various features you can have added, soft cloth type masks and one that are made of hard plastic. The sky is the limit when people are shelling out the cash for it. So there would be entire market for these.

But masks also hinder facial recognition software and that is a problem for those who like to squeeze as much control over the population as they can. To remedy this problem there would be various checkpoints when you move from one city section to another. They claim it is to 'neutralize' any harmful viral or bacterial deposits on the travelers. Basically they are led into a clean room in bathed in a UV light for a few seconds. They have to remove masks, gear and extra clothing during the process. During this they are of course scanned into the system visually and identified.

Then for those who may make their way to the upper corporate levels will be given masks to wear. Clear plastic with full filtration. They will not be allowed to wear anything that blocks the ability for cameras to see their face.

So masks will become an sort of identifying part of the setting. The basic blue CWD workers will be issued standard masks with their uniform but they are allowed to wear whatever they like as long as it's semi tasteful. Therefore a place on the character sheet for a description of the mask, or masks, they commonly wear may be a good idea.

As a GM this gives you an easy way to describe NPCs via 'funny hat characterization' with their masks. Along with a place for your players to spend their characters money at.

WthC - Quick and dirty combat goals

Combat isn't going to be mapped out and a lot more open to the theater of the mind. Maybe some quick layouts so the GM can tell the players where things are but no movement squares, no rigid rules on facing and all that. The goal is to keep it fast and loose.

What each player wants their characters to do will be declared and the action pretty much all takes place simultaneously. Nobody going before the others unless they opt to pause or the character has a special ability granting them first action. Each one doing their thing while the NPCs are also doing theirs. The goal is to make it cinematic and rewarding those who put a bit more thought into their actions than just "I shoot at it with my pistol.".

In Welcome to the City giving a bonus die is one of the crutches used to move the players into doing this. Rewarded to a player when they think of something a bit more exciting or dramatic than the standard declaration of attack. Firing at the enemy while diving backwards over a road block to seek a bit of cover. Stepping a foot forward as you headlock your opponent so they fall forward slamming their head into a steel beam. Bum rushing a startled opponent and clamping a hand over their mouth with one hand while running a blade into their belly with the other.

All of these, give them a bonus die. Even if it logically makes the action more difficult to pull off give them that reward for using their imagination a bit and make it easier for them to successfully perform the action. Of course do remind them that the action needs to be something specific and not to try to do multiple actions into one motion.

Combat order will be along the lines of: Describe your action - Roll to perform that action - Roll for any damage done. Keep it quick and fast paced if you can.  While combat is an entertaining, and often important, part of the session it shouldn't take up a huge section of the game time.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

WthC - Damage

In Welcome to the City I didn't want to go with hit points or something like it. I wanted to push it away from there a bit. So I went back and looked at something I had done before with the FreeForm generic system I did many long years ago and I'll probably pull that out and use it.

Basically you have five ranks of damage. With the fifth and final rank being death or near death depending on how you want to play it. There was a death spiral involved as you get a negative to your roll with each rank, however I'm thinking of easing that up a bit and only introduce the spiral on the fourth rank.

Rank One is the lowest level of damage. If you receive another Rank One damage from a hit it will take you to Rank Two. However this is where things get different than most systems. Any hit that does a lower Rank than what you have doesn't add to the total, they are not cumulative.  Example: If you are getting beat down in a fist fight and are at Rank Two and three guys hit you, each doing Rank One damage then you don't record anymore damage. Roleplay it out a bit, get descriptive but it doesn't add up in numbers.

When you take a Rank of damage that is equal to what you already have then it goes up one. If you take a Rank of damage that is greater than what you already have then it goes up that highest Rank. Example: You have taken Rank Two of damage and a then one of the thugs shoots you for Rank Four damage then you go to Rank Four immediately.

The number of Ranks is still up in the air at the moment as well is the death spiral and when it kicks in. I am thinking of using a reverse death spiral in there somehow as well. Maybe spiraling up until a certain Rank and then you start dropping fast.

It's all still in the works and a bit wonky.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Jaded Gamer Diary - BRP unopen gaming license

Okay well yesterday Chaosium finally released the SRD for their Basic Role Playing system. They are putting it out under a modified OGL as well. But guess what? They sure as hell don't know what 'Open' means when they slapped that OGL name on it. With the way it currently stands they shouldn't have even bothered releasing it at all. Let's take a look at some of this nonsense.

Okay the statement that you can't use certain IPs is completely understandable. I think we all get that. Got to protect your actual properties and all that.

But then under that is where Chaosium immediately goes full on stupid. A list of what kind of rules you can't use OR USE RULES THAT ARE SIMILIAR. First off you basically better own all of these products listed just so you know how not to make a subsystem needed for your release. Second how similar are they talking. The BRP is rather simple therefore most extra rules added in for specific things are pretty simple as well. By this list you can't have anything resembling a Sanity mechanic. Plus not to mention most magic systems (which by the way Chaosium a lot of your shit is already similar to other games out there).

But wait there's more!

Oh look there are even public domain properties you aren't allowed to use. Can't have somebody coming along and do it better than them now can we?

Top it of with that weak ass "Substantially similar" line in there.

Folks this is not by any shape or form an Open Gaming License.  This is something put out by a company that doesn't want to do an OGL but really wants to hop on some buzzwords and trends in hopes of boosting sales of their core material.

Here is a link to their SRD page.

There are many D100 OGL systems out there right now. Use one of those instead. Otherwise you have to worry that Chaosium may send you a cease and desist letter because something is to similar to something they have tucked away in one of their many books.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Horror Gaming - Grave Robbers Inc

Since it's become very obvious that nobody is really into my material enough to get it from DrivethruRPG (even when it's free) I decided I might as well just start throwing some of the work in progress material up here. This was for a modern day supernatural/occult sourcebook called 'Dark Markets' that I was working on. It was to be a collection of various businesses that have sprung up to serve the occult community.

Grave Robbers Inc

Sometimes there are jobs that are necessary but are considered to unsavory for most people to do. One such job is exhuming the dead. Now there may be all sorts of reasons why you need a body dug up, ritual components, resurrection, feeding, whatever... but it's a dirty job that just seems to have a bad taint about it. But there is a demand, so of course there are those willing to do the dirty work. That's just what this little posse of losers has done. After being outcasts in a niche of society that is pretty much composed of outcasts these folks got together and carved out their own little pocket by doing what nobody else will do. No questions asked.

Of course their prices aren't cheap but what's the alternative, doing it yourself? Nobody wants to do that. So as a base rate to pull a fresh body out of the ground and have it picked up at a location of their choosing you will pay an easy five grand. Add another grand for every week it's been buried. Add a grand if the customer chooses the pick up location. Tag on another two if they have to move the body from the transport and into a location. Just need specific parts of a body? Well that's a grand each.

These guys don't take plastic so be ready to pay cash in hand or bitcoin. On a very rare occasion they have been willing to do the deed for a trade. But whatever you are offering it had better be pretty valuable AND be something they really want.

Getting in touch with them isn't that tough either. If you ask around the various occult circles enough you will hear about them and somebody will hand you a phone number.

Significant NPC's.

Tim Price, aka The Boss

Tim is another in a long family line of morticians. He has all the education and apprenticeship necessary to follow that path as well. But he decided to spend some more time in college while chasing after lost bits of occult knowledge. While he possesses no magical or supernatural abilities himself he does know a great deal more than most others and has a nearly photographic memory to boot.

He's the one who started Grave Robbers Inc up. Having the know how and access to the equipment needed for the job put him in the position of being in charge.

Chrissy, aka The Voice

When you need to meet GRI to discuss business this is who you talk to. All of five feet tall, dressed all in black with combat boots, she is the stereotype appearance of modern goth. Until she speaks. Her tone and inflection are perfect and anyone listening to her feels immediately at ease, calm and don't have an angry bone in their body.

Other members of the crew tend to vary. From a few outcasts just looking to earn some money on the side to jocks from the local college hoping to impress Chrissy. Just disposable guys to work the shovels and do the dirty work.

Artifacts of Note

Privacy Lantern. This appears to be an old turn of the century railway oil lantern. Very worn, dinged up and dented but still functional. When filled with oil, lit and a shot is used it creates an optical illusion. Anything activity within the circle of light is rendered invisible from outside viewing. Used while digging up a grave so that casual passer by or a police patrol can't see the activity happening. This illusion is broken if the lantern is moved more than a few inches.

Piece of your Mind Pipe. This appears to be a long smoking pipe made to resemble a Native American 'peace pipe' or at least what they looked like on television. This is activated when a person loads the pipe up and lights then takes a puff while using a shot at the same time. Then when they hand it off to another and they take a hit the activator says out a number of a days and the person will pass out. When they wake back up they will have forgotten the specified number of days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

WthC - New system idea

Brainstorming on a new skill/action resolution mechanic.

All rolls are done with D12's because I like them.

Stats are rated 1 to 4 and skills fall under them. Skills are rated from 1 to 8. The rating of a Stat determines how many dice you roll when you do a skill check. The goal is to roll under the skill rating on at least one die. Any extra 1's that are rolled increase the level of success.

All rolls are assuming you under duress (like in Unknown Armies). Performing simple skill tests where there is no stress or risk are pretty much a simple success without even rolling.

Now the question is modifiers. I shouldn't need negative modifiers since the skill check is already under duress as stated above. But things may positively influence the chances. Should it be an increase to the skill rating or maybe a bonus die in the roll?

Monday, March 2, 2020

WthC - the quick sell

Welcome to the City. Here there is no night and no day. The people who live here have only heard of such things when watching shows that take place on other worlds. Here they only know the darkness above them. Swirling clouds and filthy rain. The pillars that they will never see the inside of that rise from the buildings and vanish into the so called sky above them.

They could travel for miles in any direction and never see the view above them change. Sometimes it may not be so dark for a few hours, or the lightening could make interesting arcs from one massive pillar to another. Massive transports slowly move through the air above sometimes coming down so low that they almost rake the tops of the buildings. Smaller craft flash past at high rates of speed dodging through the air like a man on the run.

Things also find their comfort in the belly of the City. Dark things out of nightmares and failed laboratories. Ways to manipulate reality and make it worse are passed along as secrets traded for misery. Those who do live in luxury only do so because they make thousands more suffer.

Everyone here lives under the darkness. Living, working and dying.

Welcome to the City. Where nobody speaks of hope, because nobody has ever heard of the word.