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capybarbarian

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A member registered Oct 04, 2019 · View creator page →

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This is very cool -- it is essentially a guided way through generating your very own 1980s cartoon series. There are a few initial decisions to make, and then you get to roll on the various tables to generate your 'pitch'.
If you don't want to accept the outcomes of the tables (which is the 'market research' presented to you, the Creative Director for this toy line), you can do so -- but you have to accept 'suggestions' from the various departments that are involved in order to pay down that 'creative debt'.

The rules presented are for a single-player game, and there are rules for two-player games in preparation. But I am wondering if you could play this game cooperatively, with a group, in order to generate a setting. A setting in which then to play in, with each session being an episode of the cartoon!

I like Push a lot, but I would want to make traits a bit more mechanically relevant. Rolling when a trait applies should make the chances of success higher -- that way, characters also grow in their power when they acquire more (or more powerful) traits. It's been 30 years since I studied probabilities with any complexity, so please verify my math as I go along.

In a normal Push game, the chance of a great success is 2/6 with a single die roll. If you choose to roll another die to add to it, then the chance of getting what you need is, again 2/6. If your original roll was a 4, then you get your great success on a 1 or 2, if you rolled 3 then you need a 2 or 3, etc.
So when using up to two dice, the change of a great success is 2/6 + (4/6 * 2/6), which is just under 56%.

My proposed modification is to allow the player to change the outcome of the second die by one step up or down when the character possesses a trait that would help in that situation. The reasoning is that you are really applying yourself to the task (you're pushing yourself) and your experience/background helps.
Of course, the chance of a great success on the first roll stays 2/6. But on the second roll, your range is much higher. If you rolled a 4 first, you now can get away with a 1, 2 or 3. If you rolled a 3 first, you now can get away with a 1, 2, 3, or 4! If you rolled a 2 first, your range is 2, 3, 4, 5. If you rolled a 1 first, your range is 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The math then comes down to 2/6 + (1/6 * 3/6) + (3/6 * 4/6), which is exactly 75%. Is that a big increase? Probably not, but big enough to make an impact, I think.

If you allow a 'starred' trait to change the result of the second die by up to two steps, then the chance of a great success after the second die comes to a whopping 91%!

What do you think?

When I was 12, we got cable TV -- before that, we just had OTA TV, so we had the national channels of the Netherlands, Belgium and (then West-)Germany. Obviously, having so much more TV available was a really interesting proposition for a young and slightly lonely boy.

I don't know when I saw my first episode of Robotech, the 'bastardized' version of three Japanese 'mecha' anime, but I do know that It was on the so-called 'Super Channel' and that I dropped in halfway the Mospeada arc. I started watching it religiously, even though it was on kinda early (I think around 08:00 AM?) which also meant that nobody was bothering me while I watched on the living room TV (the only TV in the house). When Mospeada was done, the channel just restarted from the start, and I got to see the rest -- most notably the Macross arc.

If the words 'Pineapple salad' mean anything to you, then you will know the exact moment I became a life-time Macross fan. I think many people my age had the same experience.

Of course, there are Macross RPGs and many generic mecha RPGs -- but all of those tend to focus on the mechanics of the mecha combat. Arguably the most important thing in a mecha series, except it isn't -- mecha series are about the characters and their relationships. It's true for Macross, for Gundam, for many, many others. So none of the mecha RPGs I read really scratched that itch.

So I started to make my own.

I present to you "Blackbird Squadron", a variant of John Harper's "Lady Blackbird", set in a, ahem, "Macross-inspired" setting. Yes, there is mecha combat, but the 'refreshment scenes' also push inter-character relationships and drama.

Please have a look at it, and please let me know what you think.

https://capybarbarian.itch.io/international-waters

A fun little adventure through a wondrous location. Travel, interaction with NPCs and a chance of combat, this is a nice all-round adventure.

The Synth Convergence is a set of three scenarios that focus on 'synthetic life'. My Sprawl games are usually more in the style of Neuromancer, where fully sentient AI is very rare. This set of scenarios give the game a much more 'sci-fi' feel -- more like Ghost in the Shell.
Like with other mission files for The Sprawl, there are multiple CORPs involved. In the prologue, there is a very handy checklist of which CORPs are involved in which scenario. You could easily use that to connect them to CORPs in your game world.
 

First up is The Tannhauser Investment. In this mission, the team is hired to infiltrate a very exclusive resort hotel to intimidate an exec to sell their shares. The hotel is managed by an AI, which interacts with the guests through a set of semi-independent synthetic 'units'. There's another guest with lots of armed security nearby, and they are nervous -- so they could mistake any gunfire as directed towards them, which is a delicious complication to throw in the mix!
I would have liked to know more about the various types of units available to the AI, and how it would activate which ones under which circumstances. Maybe that could have been tied to the clock? Speaking of clocks: the Legwork Clock gives very little leeway: the Action Clock gets advanced quite quickly.
 

The second mission in this pack is the Infinitive Extraction. This is an inspired piece of work, multi-layered with several actors that a smart team could play against each other. The team is hired to extract an android, a (former) military-grade AI that turned into a DJ. This AI chose to exclusively inhabit a physical body, which is essentially owned by a CORP -- so they are under contract with their record label. The AI wants out and has made arrangements to be kidnapped before the first concert of their world tour to promote their new album.
But there is the 'Evolved', a group that protests synthetic life. They are not fond of the synth DJ, and have announced to protest their concert. This is why security is beefed up -- but they expect protesters, not a team of professionals. If the team doesn't play their cards right, things could escalate quite badly.
I love the multiple layers in this mission, and how the Evolved could turn into a long-term threat. It is also an invitation to think about the social and ethical implications of synthetic life, which I like a lot. After all, cyberpunk is a very political genre. There's ample information for the MC on armaments and tactics, based on the situations the CORP expects. Reading this mission got me excited for all the good trouble the team could get into!
 

The third mission is The Vanda-Weiss Demolition. It is exactly as what it says on the packaging: the team are tasked (or even blackmailed!) to bring down the aging Vanda-Weiss arcology. It's actually a result of the first scenario! There's a simple catch: this is not some kind of CORP-owned asset, but a derelict slum where low-wage workers live -- which is also a hotbed for Evolved recruitment. Is the team prepared to basically kill hundreds of innocents, or will they go against their corporate overlords, with all associated consequences?
I love the description of the locations in the arcology. It really makes the place come alive and gives it purpose beyond just being a decor or collateral damage. And this is the kind of stuff that makes cyberpunk so cool: there's a real choice to make, and each choice has consequences. This mission is the highlight of the collection for me.

Then there are four pages of locations and NPCs to populate your Sprawl with. These do not have any direct connection with the three missions, and could easily be inserted in any game. The NPCs are inspired and spark ideas on how to use them.
Do I have criticism? Yes, I do. For one, the PDF does not have bookmarks, which is a shame -- having them makes getting around the book a lot easier. And the Legwork Clocks advance the Action Clocks very fast, severely limiting the investigations the team can do before going in.
But would I recommend this? Yes. Yes, I would. This trio of missions describe a really cool story arc, with a lot of impact. This is cyberpunk at its best.

An interesting system underpinning a very tactical combat system. Many different character options through Talent trees, and who wouldn't want to play a Korok!?

Personally I'm really looking forward to more information about the foraging and cooking subsystems.

LUMEN community · Created a new topic Monster slaying?

The theme of powerful characters taking on powerful enemies seems to fit very nicely for characters slaying huge monsters, in the vein of Monster Hunter or (especially) Dauntless. But the Lumen rules seem to be geared towards mowing through hordes of mobs, instead of taking on a single, very powerful enemy.

Also, one of the tropes of such a game is to 'harvest' parts off a monster that can be turned into armor or weapons. That would also be a departure of the proposed 'random loot generation' in the SRD.

Obviously I will let this stew for a bit, but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about this.

This playkit contains everything to play a 'kids & monsters' RPG game. The rules are only 11 pages, and contain everything you need to know to play the game -- skill tests, combat, rest, and the all-important bond between kid and their monster.

Rules for character (and monster) creation are absent, but the kit comes with five pre-generated kids and nine pre-generated monsters to choose from.

The system is a trait-based dice pool mechanism, with skills and items adding dice. There's also a nice advantage/disadvantage mechanic which increases or lowers the target value for the roll -- very powerful with larger dice pools! The system reminds me a bit of the 'Year Zero' engine, but that may just be my own inexperience with such systems.

One thing that is missing from these pages (which I hope gets more fleshed out in the full game) is to ask the players to think about how some of these things look 'in the fiction'. Especially in the case when using Bond Points, which is a very valuable 'currency', there is the opportunity to narrate how the teamwork of the kid and their monster overcomes the adversity they are facing, which is very much 'in genre' and can serve to firmly establish the tone of the game setting.

The kit concludes with a 10-page adventure for groups to dive right in. It has a good mix of social situations (interacting with the monsters, who can speak and are sentient), exploration across the various locales and combat against the negative miasma from a meteor.

I can see groups using the first part of the playkit as a handy rules reference in the future, even when the full game has been released.