Don't Forget Your Boots

Meandering aimlessly around the GURPS landscape

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No Game

Sadly, our regularly-scheduled game was cancelled due to illness. Pesky flu season.

Coming Soon…

A new play synopsis! I’m just slow getting it written up this time around. Too many other errands.

Clueless

What else could the champions have done to scare up some clues?

Occult research. Is there any history of zombie activity in the area? No, which might point to their magical origin, offering a “what” clue.

The magical source of the zombies might prompt the champions to check with their contacts to see if anyone had recently purchased a grimoire of zombie-raising rituals, which might lead to Bonefat’s purchase of the enchanted goblet. This might be a “who” clue, or if the champions have already deduced the villain, it might count as a “why” clue, used to explain the whole scheme.

Since the slow zombies only last for a few hours, the champions might get a look at the remains. Forensics and a “Detective!” roll could offer some insights. Certainly, a “what” clue, to differentiate magically-raised zombies from, say, restless dead disturbed by poor grave maintenance.

Investigating the identities of the zombies might offer a “who” clue, after realizing that the dishonored dead were all old enemies and rivals of Bonefat’s.

No doubt Miss Dinkley could whip up all manner of useful gadgets that could expose clues. If the champions make enough “when” and “where” deductions, they might be able to set a trap or set up an ambush, eliminating the need for a “who” deduction.

There’s a whole world of clue opened up by tracking. As it happens, none of our champions have the Tracking skill… but they do have a mastiff. In my experience, when a PC pays for a dog as an Ally, that dog is usually half Lassie, half lion, and half bloodhound. Picking up a scent shouldn’t be beyond its capabilities. Tracking zombies back to the cemetery would likely be trivial, but what if the champions took it a step further? It’s not inconceivable that, from the cemetery, they might be able to pick up Bonefat’s trail, particularly if they’ve deduced the timing of the attacks and set themselves to interfere with the next occurrence. That could lead them to the villain’s country house, eliminating the need for a “where” deduction and offering a big bonus to the “who” question. Questioning the servants might yield many more “who” and “why” clues.

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D&D 5E: The March

Since the kids’ last D&D session, they had the opportunity to go to our Friendly Neighborhood Gaming Store’s annual D&D camp. There, they were exposed to the 5th Edition. They wasted no time telling me that 5E is superior in all ways to my crusty old version. ūüôā

So, we abandoned the¬†Cyclopedia and switched to the modern version of the game. Their characters from camp had made it to 2nd level, and they wanted to continue those characters’ careers. To bump up their numbers, we decided to have each kid play two characters simultaneously.

We picked up 5E play with four PCs. ¬†They are Styx II (female wood elf sage/alchemist Rogue 2, with an eye towards Arcane Trickster), Reaper (male drow elf noble Warlock 2), Necro (male-identifying warforged¬†sage Wizard 1, aiming to specialize in conjuration), and Rienhardt (male human noble Paladin 1, also known as “RH”).

Just like the last campaign, I snagged a free adventure to jump-start things; in this case, that adventure was¬†Gauntlet of Spiragos.¬†I’m making little tweaks as I go along, but be warned, there’s still likely to be spoilers.

What Happened

Styx and Reaper were teleported home at the end of the camp adventure, but something went wrong. While the rest of their old party returned to their lives, our heroes were swept away by a strange arcane misfire. They found themselves on the dirt floor of a crude stone hut, far to the north of their previous location. RH had taken shelter in the hut earlier. His initial surprise at the others’ sudden appearance was compounded when he recognized his childhood friend, Reaper.

While Reaper and RH caught up on old times, Styx poked around in the dusty hut, discovering a coffin-like crate. It was locked, but this presented no barrier to an experienced 2nd-level Rogue. When opened, the create proved to contain a mothballed clockwork “robot” with a crystal face. It slowly awakened when Styx started clearing packing materials away from it. Barely able to speak, it introduced itself as Necro. Styx was drawn to Necro by curiosity, while Necro took Styx to be his creator, and thus worthy of loyalty.

When discovered, Necro had an old piece of parchment clutched in his hand, which proved to be a map. After some discussion and orientation, the party decided that the map pointed towards a location called the Chasm of Flies, and hinted that one might find three magical items there: a ring, a dagger, and a gauntlet. They left the hut and walked up the road a bit to the nearest town, Cragfort, where they got their expedition organized.

Styx and Necro visited an alchemist’s shop, where they became friendly with the gnome shopkeeper and picked up necessary supplies. The shopkeeper provided some scraps of information about the legend of the Chasm of Flies, saying that after it received its name, the infestation of flies had attracted spiders.

Reaper and RH reserved rooms at the inn for the night, and then retired to the common room for carousing. There, they met a dwarf who worked in the local copper mine who liked the way they drank.

Realizing that it would take them several days to travel to the Chasm and back, and being told that opportunities to forage along the way were limited, the party purchased a large amount of rations. Unable to afford mounts, they instead hired the dwarven miner to drive them to the Chasm in his wagon. Bright and early the next day, they left town, heading north. The trip was punctuated with good-natured banter and a steady stream of RH’s sandwiches.

While the party slept on the second night of the trip, Necro stood on watch. He spotted a flicker of movement in the distance. He cast dancing lights, sending the glowing orbs thus produced over to cast some light on the subject while he shouted an alarm. The others awoke to see a goblinoid dressed in black leather, standing surprised and blinking foolishly in the light with knives in hand.

RH came off his bedroll at a sprint. Not bothering to arm himself, he simply tackled the smaller creature, applying a grapple and seeking to beat its head against a nearby rock. The others joined in the dog-pile as well. Once the goblinoid was immobilized, Styx put the point of her rapier against its throat and demanded its surrender. It spat defiance, telling them that people like them didn’t belong here. Styx shrugged and sent it to its reward.

The next morning, they left the hills behind and made their way across the Devils’ March, a wasteland left devastated after magical wars a couple hundred years before. Shortly, they started to hear the baying of hounds in the distance, a sound that seemed to grow closer as they went. They cautiously proceeded, with weapons close at hand. It wasn’t long before the more keen-eyed of the group spotted a humanoid figure in the distance, half-running, half-staggering towards them.

Only seconds after they first saw the person, he was brought down by a pair of large dogs. The party shouted at the dogs, who raised their eyes towards our heroes, revealing themselves to be partially-rotted undead. They howled once, then charged. Their howls were answered as two more undead hounds came over the ridge.

The heroes jumped off the wagon and ran to engage. Styx had to use acrobatics to avoid being surrounded, and would have ran away, if she weren’t forced to run back to aid Necro, who had been pulled off his feet by one of the dogs. RH caved in one of the dogs with a single swing of his warhammer.

In the end, the party stood victorious. The hounds carried no treasure, but each of them¬†was wearing a collar with a tag. The tags bore a rune, something like a simplified sketch of a fanged skull. The party was able to identify the rune as a wizard’s personal rune, but wasn’t able to identify the wizard.

After a short rest, the party carried on into the wasteland. In the early hours of the afternoon, they came within sight of a circular hole in the ground, about 150 feet across. The Chasm!

The party had their driver park the wagon behind a handy boulder, then formed up with RH in the lead to march the last couple hundred yards on foot. As soon as RH stepped out in the open, however, an attacker appeared atop the boulder! It was a strangely-misshapen goblinoid riding a giant spider, who threw a dart at the paladin. The dart bounced off his helmet ineffectively, but then a second goblin popped out of concealment, high above, to harass the rest of the party.

Having no missile weapons, RH drew his warhammer and struck a two-handed blow against the rock, hoping to shatter the surface and bring one of the spider-riding goblins down. It almost worked, forcing the spider to dance quickly upwards to avoid falling.

The magic-users were able to bring down one of the spiders with a combination of acid splash and eldritch blast. Its rider fell to the ground, where it stood to find itself at melee distance. It bared its needle-sharp teeth, ready to fight like a cornered rat.

Styx tried to use her short bow to cripple the other goblin’s spider, but wasn’t able to make the shot. Commenting that she was really coming to dislike the bow, she drew her rapier and ran acrobatically up the rock face to where the goblins lurked. There, she grabbed a handhold and wounded its spider. The spider bit back, injecting its paralyzing poison. Styx was left alive, but unconscious and unable to move, her hand locked closed around its perilous hold.

While the one goblin bit at RH and Reaper and the other played hide-and-snipe, Necro tried a desperate gamble. He cast sleep, knowing that RH was inside the area of effect, but hoping that the goblins would be affected before him. Hoping in vain, as it turned out; while one of the goblins and the surviving spider did fall asleep, so did RH!

The other goblin turned and ran. It ducked for a hiding place, eluding Reaper, but Necro spotting it where it lurked. Found out, it scurried up the side of the boulder and vanished over the edge of the top. After a few moments of confusion, the party spotted it when it broke cover on the far side of the rock, running swiftly for the rim of the Chasm. Reaper stepped backwards to get a clear shot, then took the goblin down with a well-aimed eldritch blast to the leg.

The party rescued Styx from her perch. RH laid on hands, healing her and bringing her back to consciousness, but couldn’t do anything about the paralysis. Necro examined her and concluded that she needed an hour or so to get over it. Accordingly, the group settled down for a rest.

While they waited, RH and Necro performed some interrogation. RH spoke the Goblin language, and Necro loomed threateningly. (He would have engaged in some light torture, just to make sure no lies were told, but RH wouldn’t stand for it.) They learned that the Chasm was home to a tribe of spider-like goblinoids. The captives didn’t know anything about any magical items, but said that if there¬†were any such items in the Chasm, they would likely be held by the tribe’s matriarch.

Having extracted all the information they were likely to, the party loaded the bound captives onto the wagon and instructed their driver to take them some way out into the wastelands and turn them loose. He happily agreed to undertake this task, unloading a day or so of rations before driving off, whistling cheerfully.

The party turned their eyes towards the Chasm and the expected treasures within.

 

GURPS Supers Character: Korrasami

Another 600-point super, for the same game as Jade Rocket. This one is for my wife; she’s been observing all this GURPS stuff for some time, and has decided to join in. I worked out the details of the character under her direction, along with some feedback from the GM.

She started me off with “You know Raven from the Teen Titans?”

heroforgescreenshot-2

Korrasami

600 points
Age 19; Human; 5’5″; 120

ST 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 16 [120]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 17 [5]; Per 16 [0]; FP 12 [0].
Basic Speed 6 [0]; Basic Move 6 [0]; Block 7 (DX); Dodge 9; Parry 10 (Brawling).

Social Background
TL: 8 [0].
CF: Western (Native) [0].
Languages: English (Native) [0].

Advantages
Alternate Abilities: Magical Aura [212]
Warp (Blink; Extra Carrying Capacity: Extra-Heavy Encumbrance; Magical; No Strain; Pact: Discipline of Faith; Range Limit 10 miles; Reliable +6) [185]; Warp (Blind Only; Magical; Pact: Discipline of Faith; Range Limit 10,000 miles; Reliable +9; Takes Recharge: 1 hour; Tunnel: forms before you teleport) [135/5]

Alternative Abilities: Projected Psychic Energy [128]
Crushing Attack 5 (Double Knockback; Magical; Variable) [29/5]; Crushing Attack 5 (Area Effect (2 yd); Magical; Mobile (+1); Persistent; Requires Concentrate; Wall: Rigid: Any shape desired) [67/5]; Healing (Affects Self; Magical; Pact: Discipline of Faith) [39/5]; Telekinesis 25 (Based On Will; Magical; Pact: Discipline of Faith; Visible) [100]

Attractive [4]; Claim to Hospitality (worshipers) 2 [2]; Damage Resistance 4 (Tough Skin) [12]; Damage Resistance 5 (Force Field; Magical; Nuisance Effect: ability makes you obvious; Pact: Discipline of Faith) [24]; Danger Sense [15]; Detect (Supernatural phenomena) [20]; Empathy [15]; Luck (Defensive) [12]; Regeneration (Slow: 1HP/12Hr) [10]; Teleportation Talent 4 [20].
Perks: Attribute Substitution (Body Sense based on Will); Attribute Substitution (Innate Attack (Gaze) based on Will); Cloaked [3].

Disadvantages
Discipline of Faith (Mysticism) [-10]; Enemy (Demonic culture) (medium-sized group, some formidable or super-human) (6 or less; Hunter) [-15]; Nightmares (12 or less) [-5]; Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) [-10]; Reputation (spooky) -1 (All the time; Almost everyone) [-5]; Sense of Duty (Mundane humanity) (Entire Race) [-15]; Weakness (Contact with holy water and artifacts) (1d per minute) (Rare) [-10]; Wealth (Struggling) [-10]; Weirdness Magnet [-15]; Xenophilia (15 or less) [-5].

Quirks
Can Be Turned By True Faith; Dead Giveaway (Always wears a cloak and hood); Dorky; Hated by fundamentalist followers of Abrahamic religions; Photosensitivity

Skills
Autohypnosis-15 (Will-2) [1]; Body Sense-16 (Will-1) [2]; Brawling-14 (DX+2) [4]; Detect Lies-17 (Per+1) [1]; Exorcism-15 (Will-2) [1]; Fortune-Telling (Dream Interpretation)-18 (IQ+2) [1]; Hidden Lore (Demon Lore)-16 (IQ+0) [2]; Hidden Lore (Spirit Lore)-15 (IQ-1) [1]; Innate Attack (Gaze)-18 (Will+1) [2]; Intimidation-16 (Will-1) [1]; Meditation-15 (Will-2) [1]; Mind Block-16 (Will-1) [1]; Religious Ritual (Demon worship)-14 (IQ-2) [1]; Scholar!-16 (IQ+0) [24].

Equipment
Boots, High (Styling (+1); 6 lb); Cell Phone (4 oz); Cloth Gloves; Light Cloak (Styling (+2); 2 lb); Mail Coif (Titanium; 1.33 lb); Mail Hauberk (Titanium; 8.33 lb).

Background and Origin Story

It’s not something that’s necessarily obvious about the world of “Campaign City”, but as it happens, there are quite a few folks who worship demons. They’re just normal folks, going about their normal business, aside from their behind-closed-doors religious observances. It being a comic book world, some of the demons being worshiped are real.

Korrasami grew up in Hell, raised by those demons. They told her that she had been born to a family of mortal demon-worshipers. Almost from birth, they said, she had displayed magical powers. Thus, she had been an excellent sacrifice. Her mortal family handed her over to their demonic overlords.

She doesn’t know if any of this is true. Demons are notorious liars. She’s heard several variations on the story, including one where her magical talent comes from being the descendant of¬†a demon.

In Hell, Korrasami was trained in the use of her magical abilities. Being trained by demons in the mystic arts is just about as pleasant as you would expect it to be. The expectation was that once her training was completed, she would be used as a weapon, or tool, or both, by her owners.

Instead, when she got a chance, she jumped ship and escaped into the mortal realm. She’s been on Earth, in “Campaign City”, for a few weeks, now. She’s making a modest living for herself, working as a fortune-teller and a sort of unordained minister to the same kind of suburban satanists as her parents.

Explanation and highlights

Attributes

Extraordinarily intelligent, and even more extraordinarily strong-willed. Even though she doesn’t have any telepathic powers,¬†I expect her to end up protecting the group from psionicists, mostly because, with her Will, she’ll be nearly impossible for them to affect.

Social Background

So, weird thing about comic-book Hell… Apparently, it’s TL 8, and they speak English there. Probably with a California accent. You can tell, because Korrasami has the standard, default package of TL 8, Cultural Familiarity with the Western world, and English as a native language.

The reasoning here is to avoid extraneous complexity. We considered the possibility of having “Demontongue” as a native language and so forth, but decided that it would just complicate things and wasn’t necessary to the character. Anyway, one might argue that “realistically” a race of demons living in a different dimension would have their own language, culture, and so forth, but in the comics, none of that ever seems to matter much. Smooth-tongued contract-writing demons don’t ever seem to suffer a penalty for being unfamiliar with Earth culture. English-speaking wizards never summon French-speaking demons.

Therefore, Korrasami’s particular comic-book Hell has a lot of commerce with and understanding of the mortal realm. They might prefer a medieval aesthetic, with swords and cloaks and brooding castles, but they still know all about cell phones and automatic transmissions. Some of them come and go, working to taint souls or some other evil scheme. They bring the news back with them.

Advantages

Yeah, yeah, I know, I said one of the goals was to minimize complexity, after showing a character sheet that seems to have two of everything. Let’s break it down into pieces.

Korrasami has two sets of Alternate Abilities. First is her “Magical Aura”, which has two versions of Warp, one alternate to the other. The second is “Projected Psychic Energy”, which includes her outward-directed powers, mainly variations on psychokinesis.

The two flavors of Warp amount to “quick, close, and small” versus “big, showy, elaborate portal”. Under normal conditions, she’ll use the first version, with Blink and No Strain. This is a quick, Nightcrawler-style “bamf”. With Reliable and her Teleportation Talent, she’ll have a roll of 26, before penalties for time and distance. With Blink, she’ll be able to perform a teleport as an active defense at that level. (Eek!) The second version of Warp opens a portal, and can reach any where on the planet. It operates with a roll of 29, which is good, because a jump of over 1000 miles is going to be at a -8 for distance, plus a -5 for teleporting blind, putting her back down to an effective skill of 16 before we consider the modifier for time spent. It’s likely she’ll be taking 30 seconds, for no penalty. Once she’s opened such a portal, she needs to recover for an hour before she can open another.

Essentially, she’s got a teleport power that’ll carry her and a friend around the battlefield or across town, and another that’ll be used in Act 1 to drop the team into whatever exotic locale they’ll be in for this issue.

Next up, Projected Psychic Energy. The flagship power is Telekinesis sufficient to lift 1.25 tons. She uses this to fly. She can also project her psychokinetic energy as a 5d cr attack that does double knockback; an average damage roll should throw a normal human back a distance of four hexes. Alternatively, she can project that same force as a protective force field that lasts as long as she concentrates on it. Finally, she can project that same energy with such finesse that she can heal wounds, even her own.

(Regarding that projected force field, I would just like to say, the way GURPS does walls just feels weird. I mean, I can appreciate the way modify-attack-to-wall¬†generalizes them, so you build “Wall of Stone” the same as “Wall of Fire”, but… weird. Makes it look like she’s got two different attacks, rather than an attack and a defense.)

Korrasami’s Claim to Hospitality comes from ministering to those suburban satanists: from time to time, she can find a spare couch to crash on and a refrigerator to raid.

She’s fairly rugged on her own, with DR 4 from tough skin, but she can also summon a personal force field for additional protection. She also heals quicker than a normal human. These abilities might point to demonic ancestry, or they might be side-effects of growing up in the alien environment of Hell, or they might be the result of thousands of hours of mystic rituals aimed at gathering magical power.

After a lifetime spent in Hell, she’s always on guard, giving her an almost-supernatural Danger Sense. Her magical studies have made her sensitive to any kind of supernatural phenomena. (Demons, yes. Magic, yes. Psychic powers? I’m not sure, we’ll see what the GM says.)¬†Despite a lifetime spent in Hell, she possesses Empathy, which might be the root of her rebellion and escape.

Korrasami has three Perks. Her Body Sense and Innate Attack skills are magical in nature, and so they’re based on sheer Will. She has Cloaked, because in Hell, if you can’t rock a cloak with style, they send you down to the sulfur mines to prod the damned souls of shoplifters and people who dog-ear books instead of using a bookmark.

Why two Warps? It got too expensive trying to do everything all at once. Splitting the power in two made it much more affordable. It also keeps her from popping over to the campaign equivalent of STAR Labs’ Tokyo campus to grab the World’s Biggest McGuffin Ray when we realize, three seconds into the big fight, that a McGuffin Ray would be really useful right about now… while still allowing her to deliver the team to exotic locations with impressive scenery… which I’m sure the GM will appreciate.

Why Healing, Affects Self,¬†and Regeneration? That one’s mostly a belt-and-suspenders tactic. I figure, if she gets a little scuffed, she can heal herself up between scenes, but if she’s beat up so bad she’s unconscious, she’ll still have the Regeneration ticking away in the background. Comic book characters bounce back extraordinarily quickly, so I think just about any super can support Slow Regeneration, just as “plot protection”.

Another thing to consider about the Healing/Regeneration thing is the limitations. Healing is Magical (-10%) and has the Pact limitation, meaning it might not always be available. The Regeneration, on the other hand, is built-in and just keep on going.

Finally, that Pact limitation that pops up all over the place. Korrasami spends a lot of time meditating, burning incense, chanting odd phrases (“Azarath Metrion Zinthos!”), and so forth. If she doesn’t do this, she loses the mystic focus required to perform a lot of her magic tricks. If she can’t meditate, she can’t teleport, she can’t heal, she can’t pick up small cars with her mind. On the other hand, she doesn’t need to meditate to raise a telekinetic wall or blast things with brute force. Those are the manifestations of her raw magical abilities that she displayed even as a child.

Disadvantages

Korrasami’s former owners (or “family”, as they would have it) would like to get her back under their control, but it’s hardly their top priority. They’re hunting her, but on 6 or less.

Her upbringing has left her with recurring Nightmares. She also has spooky ways that are often off-putting. The same process (or supernatural genetics) that gives her such tough skin and rapid healing also left her vulnerable to holiness, just like any demon.

Still, even Hell itself couldn’t affect the core virtue of her soul: she cannot bring herself to harm the innocent, and she feels a responsibility to protect those who are lucky enough to know nothing of the magical dangers lurking behind the surface of reality.

Understanding what it’s like to be a mystic fish-out-of-water in a mundane world, Korrasami can sometimes have a bit of a soft spot for those who are strange, unusual, or even freakish.

Like calls to like, and so weird calls to weird. Being a practitioner of the Dark Arts, she’s always running into the strange things that shouldn’t exist.

Quirks

Korrasami is allergic to True Faith, just like she’s allergic to holy objects. The atmosphere in Hell being what it is, she’s somewhat sensitive to bright lights.

Hell’s fashion sense run towards the baroque, but has one underlying constant: the cloak makes the demon. Korrasami will inevitably end up wearing a hooded cloak if there’s any possible way to do so.

Being an admitted spawn of Hell with demonic magical powers and a goth style, Korrasami isn’t all that popular with fundamentalists of several different religions.

Being unsure of herself among humans in social situations, sometimes Korrasami will overthink her actions and display Dorkiness.

Skills

Mostly self-explanatory for a character who was taught to meditate by demons. She’s got a bit of Brawling, despite not being a physical, in-your-face melee fighter, because sometimes life in Hell requires an uppercut to the chin. Her Detect Lies is extraordinary, because she learned by penetrating the deceptions of the best liars in the multiverse.

Korrasami’s flagship skill is Scholar! at IQ. ¬†This stands in for a lot of the “book learnin'” that wizards need to have. In particular, it’s the reason why Korrasami can get away with being a wizard without Occultism.

Korrasami makes her living with a combination of Fortune-Telling and Religious Ritual (Demon Worship). This isn’t enough to generate much income, but it has the benefit of being low-profile.

GCA put in a footnote saying that her Intimidation might be affected by her spooky Reputation. I suspect Korrasami might get more mileage out of “… or I’ll eat your¬†soul” than she would out of “… or I’ll beat you up”.

Gear

Hell has TL8 metallurgy and a pseudo-medieval style. Korrasami came to Earth wearing a mail coif and hauberk made from some hellish metal that more-or-less approximates titanium. Those, a pair of knee-high boots, a pair of gloves, and (of course) a well-made cloak make up her costume.

Since she’s been on Earth, Korrasasmi has established herself well enough in modern society to obtain a cell phone.

 

What Went Wrong

Last session was fun, but it’s looking like the last session of the apocalypse game. The players described it as a TPK where all the characters lived, but the¬†party died. The vibe is, we’re done with this campaign. It’s time to move on.

So, not a hit. That’s ok. But what have we learned? What went wrong?

Scheduling Is A Killer

What with one thing and another, the gaming schedule this past year has been hit-or-miss, with maybe a slight edge to the “miss” side. It’s hard to build up story momentum when you’re only averaging one get-together every three months. Maybe we should try some one-offs, or short campaigns, rather than aiming for the long haul from the beginning.

Fifty Points Ain’t Much

Small point totals and mundane characters means non-adventurer PCs. When people who aren’t adventurers go out trying to do a bunch of adventurer stuff, they kinda don’t do all that well. Then they die slowly.

This isn’t really a surprise so much as the original campaign premise… but I think we proved the point. Trying to sneak around while rolling against defaulted Stealth. Being unable to shoot the giant pink monster that’s¬†right freakin’ there, or not knowing how many more shots the bad guy has because nobody put points into Guns. It’s fun for a bit, but gets old as a steady diet.

Simple solution: more points. Not every character has to be over a thousand points, but there’s a world of competence in between 50 and 150 points.

The End Of The World Is A Real Downer

Speaking of something getting real old, real quick and things that aren’t really surprises, it turns out that the end of the world is a pretty depressing subject. I think a true After The End campaign wouldn’t be so bad, because the world’s already wrecked when the PCs arrive on the scene. Dwelling on the death rattle starts to wear on one’s morale, long-term. Even a crapsack world (warning, TVTropes!) is better than one that’s still sliding downhill.

* * *

We’ll be shaking things up for the next session. Next: what to play?

Nice Butte

Last session, it was mentioned that Jes√ļs was heading for Kelly Butte. This week, the oddly-inconspicuous butte was featured in a local paper. No, I didn’t make it up. It really exists, weird history and all.

And it really is inconspicuous, for a 900 foot tall mass of rock¬†located right next to a busy interstate. The city doesn’t go out of its way to advertise. Just the other day, I mentioned it to someone who had lived here for 20+ years, who had no idea where it was. I think only one of my players admitted to knowing it, having run sprints up it during some kind of “keep them out of trouble by keeping them busy” overnight in high school.

In the real world, the civil defense bunker was covered over back in 2006, but in the 2012 of the campaign, that might not necessarily be true. If it is, that would mean poor¬†Jes√ļs was working off old information and due¬†for a surprise.

Lunch, Defined

The question has come up, once or twice: What’s a meal?¬†The GURPS rules say that a character needs three meals a day, or else bad things begin to happen. What qualifies?

At one point in our jolly apocalyptic adventure, Hanna made a meal out of several¬†energy bars. According to¬†GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders, in a pinch, a single MRE can be split four ways. (Happily more-or-less matching the way we played it.) Several references indicate that a standard can of beans should count as one meal. The way I see it, a “standard GURPS meal” is anything that’s about a half pound and provides¬†a few hundred calories… and, in tight circumstances, I’m willing to skimp a bit on the half pound of weight.

From knowing my players, I’m guessing that¬†this will lead to two further questions.

First, what about nutritional deficiencies? Rabbit starvation? Scurvy? Beriberi? The answer is, if any PC settles down and announces a plan to eat the same thing, day in and day out, for weeks on end, I’ll start devising diseases and that PC will start making HT checks. Unless somebody occupies a cheese factory or some such, I doubt it’ll be an issue.

Second, and more importantly:  can you make a meal out of beer?

I would say, for purposes of the apocalypse, yes, a fair amount of beer could count as a meal, by itself. The nutritional density is low, though, so we’re talking about several drinks. The higher the number of calories, the fewer bottles would need to be consumed, but then, the number of calories is tied directly to the alcohol content. A review of the drinking rules from B439-40 points out some of the hazards of this course of action.

(Note for the players: This was where I was headed, last session, when I had my total train-of-thought derailment…)

 

GURPSDay!

On Thursdays, on Gaming Ballistic, you’ll find the the GURPSDay link roundup for the week. It’s chock full of the very latest GURPSy goodness — go give it a look!

 

No game today

Today was supposed to be game day, session #2 of the mid-apocalypse campaign, but we had to call it off. At a minimum, we had one count of “called in to work”, two counts of “overly tired after work”, and I think three counts of “infected, might soon become zombies”.

It’s been sort of a meta-apocalypse.

The End Of The Weekend As We Know It, you might say.

No doubt the survivors will crawl forth from the rubble and pick up session #2 next month.

 

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