Monday, August 31, 2009

Frozen War: Making Mistakes

My, wasn't the last blog post fun! We return you to our regularly scheduled gaming discussions.

School is starting now, but hopefully it won't interfere too much with my gaming schedule. It looks as though I'll be able to easily manage both and keep the house clean, or possibly get a part-time job, if finances become too tight. So, we press on and look to the next session of Frozen War, which has suffered some delays, but otherwise looks go.

GURPS is a big, complex game, full of tools you can use or not as you wish, and it's been years since I really ran it, so I often forget things. This is true with just about any game, even simple ones like the WoD, and the whole point of Frozen War is to practice, so we press on.

First, gravity and encumbrance. Ginnungagap is a smaller world than Earth, with about 0.8 times the gravity. This means, among other things, that everyone's encumbrance is lighter, but they also suffer a -1 to DX rolls, and some other things. I've been skipping the encumbrance part, and forgetting the -1 to DX, which is a problem as some players have paid points to be native to the gravity, and thus should have a minor advantage over those who don't have it. It might be more interesting to give them a +1 rather than everyone else in the entire game a -1, I'm not sure. Encumbrance, though, is a major issue, as I had forgotten the penalty it inflicted on, among other things, Dodge, and so players evaded more shots than they should have. I have rectified this on most everyone's sheet.

For that matter, I keep forgetting fatigue costs after a fight, which is something I should really remember, as it was something I remembered when I used to run GURPS. Between fitness and extra-effort and hiking fatigue and the like, the players should really be keeping an eye on their fatigue. I want to encourage those who are more durable to feel cool!

Ranged attacks. I've got grenades down pat: Hit dead on, do full damage. Miss by a little, do about a third of the damage. Miss by more than that, and kiss most of the damage good-bye. Easy. Suppression fire has been a bit trickier, as it's new to me, but I need to remember that, first of all, it lasts the whole turn, it only attacks those who go out into it, it attacks everyone who goes out into it, and players can use it too. I think I'll start directly targeting the players too, but I need to be more conscious of ranged attack penalties: Range, Cover, darkness and, occasionally, speed (-2 for a human running full out, -3 for a fast human or a quetzali, -4 for a fast quetzali). I keep forgetting cover, for some damn reason. Also, Roomie cannot kill a power-armored foe with his 18mm HEMP rounds. This changes some dynamics by quite a bit.

Electronics need to play a bigger role in the game. I need to encourage players to realize that their characters live in an information age richer than our own. Their HUD offers far more than just +2 to guns, but +3 from locks, and as much information as you can squeeze out of your Silhouette program. A few players have grabbed full on AR, so they'll even get vision bonuses. The best way to show all this is with vivid descriptions.

I need to fully stat the "big villains" of the game, because I've realized that even bad guys can have Luck. A few players got lucky in the last game, as players are wont to do, and nearly lost a major NPC. Luck is exactly appropriate to those situations, and the more I look at Luck, the more it feels like a mandatory "cinematic" advantage... which explains why it's on all the templates in GURPS action.

So there we have it: Gravity should have more affect, Dodge should be harder, battle more exhausting, suppressive fire both more and less dangerous, targeted fire more common but less dangerous, electronics more pervasive, and villains harder to pin down.

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