Nov 19 2012

Fictionlet

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“So, are you ready for Thanksgiving?” asked Isadora as she walked into the apartment.

“Mom! Thank God you’re here!” said Brigid, hustling Isadora into the living room. “You’ve gotta help me!”

Isadora raised her eyebrows. “What’s the matter, dear?”

“Greg watched a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon over the weekend and now he won’t stop making references to it. He’s in the kitchen right now, chopping up cabbage to ‘Make it slaw!'”

“Greg hates coleslaw, doesn’t he?” said Isadora.

“Yes!” said Brigid. “But you know as well as I do that wouldn’t stop him when he gets like this!”

At this point, Greg opened the shutters of the pass-through from the kitchen, and put a pumpkin pie on the counter. With a very serious expression and a very bad Michael Dorn impression, he said, “Today is a good day to pie!” before disappearing back into the kitchen.

Isadora watched him go, then turned to Brigid. “Don’t worry, I’ve got a gun in my car. I’ll be right back.”

“Great, mom, thanks!” Brigid said as her mother headed for the door.

-The Gneech

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Nov 09 2012

Personal Deflector Shields in Savage Worlds

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So I’ve been working on an idea for a Borderlands-ish game for Savage Worlds— SF semi-apocalyptic setting, lots of crazy OTT stuff, largely tongue-in-cheek, hordes of badguys that the goodguys take out in a spray of bullets, that sort of thing. And hero durability is an important aspect of this… SW is not a system of attrition, like Pathfinder. It’s a game in which you are often fine, fine, fine, dead. So taking a cue from the game that inspired it, this homebrew of mine is looking to use personal deflector shields.

My first idea was to have a system where shields gave you a certain number of “free soaks,” negating a number of wounds as you took them. A weak shield would give you one, a great shield would give you three or four. The problem is, this felt a little too much like just putting hit points back into the game, which sorta negates the whole point of the “up, down, or off the table” structure of Savage Worlds.

A new idea have had since and like better is giving shields a rating that subtracts from incoming damage, from d4 to d12+x, just like an attribute. An average shield probably has a value of d8 or d10. Every time you take a hit, your shield’s rating goes down by a step, until it’s finally depleted after d4 and needs to recharge.

So imagine for a moment you have a d10 shield and a Toughness of 6. Someone pulls out a submachine gun and shoots you, hitting twice and rolling 2d8 each time to get totals of 9 and 10. The first hit is against your full d10 shield, so you roll and get a 6. The first hit’s damage becomes (9-6=) 3, well under your Toughness of 6, so the bullet bounces off your shield, reducing its rating to d8. The second hit, you roll your shield’s new rating of d8 and get a 3. The second hit’s damage becomes (10-3=) 7, which overcomes your Toughness of 6 and you become shaken, while your shield’s rating drops to d6.

The effect of this: well you can see in the example above that without the shield, you would have been shaken and had two wounds (shaken on the 9, wounded twice on the 10 because it got a raise over your Toughness), while with the shields, you end up just shaken. The nice thing about shields being a die rating is that you don’t really need to “track” it, just have the right size die handy. The reduction in die size with each hit both simulates the way deflector shields traditionally “go down,” as well as adding some tension to the fight. (“My shields are all the way down to d4! Run for cover!”)

The big question is, how do your shields recover? I’m thinking maybe they go up by +1 step at the beginning of your turn (up to their maximum), or fully recharge if you draw a joker for initiative.

The other question is, how do you handle allies, particularly large groups of them? I’m thinking that they probably have a “group shield value” that drops by one the first time that group is hit on a turn but only the first time. The same way allies’ ammunition levels simply drop a step after every fight, all allies in a group have the same effective rating as an aggregate of all the wild shots that have flown around in the combat. (But since large groups of allies are often being shot at by large groups of opponents, having the rating go down with every hit would deplete the shield immediately on the first turn.)

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Keep in mind that the system needs to be “Fast! Furious! and Fun!” and has to scale quickly in large combats. I’d be interested to hear what other savages out there might have to say!

-The Gneech

Nov 06 2012

Election 2012

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Warning: Politics! Which should be obvious.

Obama 2012I voted! Huzzah. 🙂 Since it’ll hardly come as a surprise to anyone who follows my LJ or Twitter feed, I’ll go ahead and put up a sign, even. It’s nice to be voting to re-elect a President I actually like, that’s never happened before… but my decision was made before the republican candidate had even been decided. This time around there was not a single candidate in that ring I’d want anywhere near the White House, and several that would have been just plain disastrous.

For what it’s worth, if Obama isn’t re-elected, it won’t be so bad. We survived Bush the Younger, whom I can’t even really talk about with Godwinning all over the place, so I’m confident we’d survive Romney who, as bad a choice as he is, is no Bush. The real problem with Romney isn’t himself, so much as the fact that he’d be sympathetic to all that’s worst in the House of Representatives, instead of checking and balancing them. If we had a less malignant Congress, Romney would be a total non-issue either way. But in this environment? I’d frankly prefer a liberal President if we could get one, but I’ll take a moderate democrat.

(NOTE: If you stand there and say with a straight face that Obama is a liberal, I will point and laugh. He is a very solidly moderate democrat. It’s just the demagoguery of the right that holds that “middle of the road” is “far to the left,” as part of their never-ending crusade to shove the US further to the right whether that’s where the rest of us want to go or not. I have many liberals in my life. Obama is not a liberal. And neither am I, so don’t go there.)

In this election, the real issue for me on a local level is a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would force eminent domain to be applicable only in the case of public use of lands. In other words, the state would be prevented from snatching land with the express purpose of handing off to private development “for economic growth.”

I am all over this amendment and have a hard time believing this is my state that proposed it! I couldn’t believe it when the SCOTUS ruled that gov’t land-grabs on behalf of corporations was a-ok. I thought you guys were supposed to be a bunch of conservatives who were in favor of restricting gov’t power! Or does that not apply to using gov’t power to hand money over to wealthy developers? Ugh. So damn corrupt.

Keep in mind, I’m no fan of eminent domain for public use either, nor indeed a fan of eminent domain for any use whatsoever. However, government forcing you off your property so it can hand that property off to a private interest who just wants it? No way. Big, big kudos to Virginia for getting this onto the ballot, and even bigger kudos if you manage to get it passed.

Anyhow! That’s enough of that. 🙂 We’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile, have an awesome day, all.

-The Gneech

EDIT: Corrected spelling of “eminent” domain. Stupid homophones. 😛

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