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Over on the Steve Jackson Games forums, there's a thread about creating organizations and characters that are part of them. The OP is putting together a PDF that may, someday, be available from e23 (the SJG  ebook store). As it is, he's currently got the preliminary version on his geocities page. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have updated it to incorporate later discussion.

In particular, I suggested a few items derived from the Guide to the Technocracy. I have not decided yet how much of this material I'm going to use in the game, but players should feel free to mine the thread for ideas. I will be using the items I suggested or inspired like the Bureaucracy skill, or the Disadvantage Bureaucracy Bunny. Although the Networking skill didn't actually get written up in that thread I will be using it and defining it as follows:
Networking (IQ/Average) This is the skill of making and using Contacts and Allies. It enables the character to identify people with potentially valuable skills or connections and persuade them to assist the character. A character who starts out with this skill should also start out with a few Contacts and maybe an Ally or two to reflect the effects of this skill prior to the game. In game, roll vs. this skill to find potential contacts related to whatever problem or project the character is working on or to persuade a potential contact to help the character out. For the latter, add +1 to your effective skill for each level of Charisma you have. The GM may also assign bonuses or penalties for how well you identify and use the potential contact's motivations. For a success, you have a Contact, the GM will adjudicate the Contact's usefulness. With a critical success, you make a new Ally. Of course, keeping the new Contact or Ally in the long term depends on role play.

I may allow other Advantages/Disadvantages from the thread where appropriate, and am seriously thinking about how I can use some of the organizational concepts to describe the Traditions and the Technocracy.

The thread actually died a while ago, but if anyone decides to revive it, please post a comment here, so I can go look at what you had to say.

One last Rule post (I hope)

I must apologize for not following up on the game sooner. Season Affective Disorder blows. Anyway, I had a couple more rules discussions/clarifications to put up for people.

The first one is a further elaboration on Spheres. I mentioned in the last rules post that characters buy Sphere Rank and Sphere skills separately. However, I was distracted by explaining the limitation mechanic that I was applying to Sphere Rank, and forgot to discuss Sphere skills. So here goes: Sphere skills are Will/Very Hard skills, and for every Sphere that the character has at least one Rank in, the player must put at least one point into the corresponding Sphere skill. This may result in an apparent Sphere skill that is higher than the skill level cap imposed by one's Arete. In that case, use the maximum level for the character's Arete.

The second point has to do with buying unique equipment like Talismans or Libraries. The GURPS Mage book had suggested a points to cash conversion to be used to buy such equipment.  GURPS 4e actually has a suitable mechanic that I only recently discovered. It's an Advantage called Signature Gear (see Basic Set p. 85). For every point put into Signature Gear, the character has equipment worth up to 1/2 the starting wealth for the setting. In this game, that translates to about $10,000. This can be used to buy just about anything as long as it is unique. You do have to explain it in your character bio, or the GM will disallow it. Also, the more points you put into your Signature Gear, the better the story has to be.

That should be it for rules. I'm going to be putting up a series of posts describing the game background, by which I mean things like the history leading up to the Rapture and other things unique to this setting.

In the meantime, if you haven't signed up on hamete.org for dice rolling, please do and let me know what email address you used. That way I can set you up with the game's dice log. Also, if anyone knows anything about Edo, please let me know. I don't think he's posted on Slacktivist in over two and a half months, and I haven't heard from him in that time. If I don't hear from him by the time I finish the background posts, I'm going to have to drop him from the game.

GURPS Mage Conversions Part 4

Okay, this is the last of the major conversion posts. I may add other stuff as needed for specific characters or that strike me as being useful, but nothing else is necessary at this point.

More Number CrunchingCollapse )

Quick housekeeping note: As of this point, I have seven players signed up. Two of them haven't submitted character sheets yet, and one of them needs to get back to me about certain character skills that involve a messy translation from White Wolf to GURPS.  Edo, rbrpg_ian , I need to see some stats for your characters. lyorn , I need you to email me about those engineering and science skills.

I would like to get the game going by New Years.

Thank you,
the GM

Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

Lucy Sinclair lay in bed, trying to sleep. She couldn't escape a sense of foreboding though. Bob, the Ecstatic who hung out at her favourite club hadn't been seen in days, and his mates said he'd been acting increasingly erratic before he vanished. Jimmy, a Lakshmist from her Marabout had also been acting oddly for quite some time. Both of them were convinced that something horrible was coming, but nobody had been able to pin them down on what. All that was clear was that whatever it was would make the Holocaust look like a Guy Fawkes Day bonfire. That was not something she wanted to think about. She tried to think about the ribbing in that sweater, instead. It was a fairly complicated pattern, and she'd been having trouble with it.

Eventually, she managed to fall into a fitful sleep, only to wake up screaming. Something had invaded the ambulance company. Something implacably hostile to her and everything she stood for. Something that sought to smash the Wheel and replace it, with what she wasn't sure. Elisabeth Watson, the other woman on the shift, jerked into a sitting position. She threw off her covers and came over to Lucy's bed.

'Lucy, are you all right?' she asked.

'I had a nightmare,' said Lucy, 'At least I hope that's all it was. That would make quite the headline wouldn't it. "Ambulance attendant goes mad."' She was shaking badly.

'Tell you what dear,' said Elisabeth. 'How about we have a nice soothing cuppa, and you can tell me all about it.'

Lucy agreed that this sounded like a good idea, although she didn't think there was much to tell.

They had just put the water on to boil when the alarm went off.  An accident with injuries at the Magic Roundabout, multiple ambulances needed.

'At this hour? Did an American tourist get lost after having a few drinks too many at the pub?' Elisabeth wanted to know. At five o'clock in the morning, the traffic was light, and almost everyone who drove through the roundabout knew its quirks.

As people were suiting up for the run, Painter looked up. 'Oy, where's Walton?' Everyone looked around. Walton was a light sleeper and usually one of the first to respond, but this morning he was nowhere to be seen. Painter went back to the men's bunk room to check up  on Walton. When he came back, he looked puzzled. 'He's not in the bunk room, an' he left his pager and his clothes behind. His pyjamas are still on the bed. I pulled the covers off them.'

They didn't have time to go looking for him, but Lucy called in the disappearance to the police who sounded more harried than usual, and told her rather brusquely that he wasn't the only one.

When they got to the scene, it was a mess. It was the time of day when lorries made their deliveries to the local shops, and the people responsible for opening said shops had to get in to work to meet said lorries. In addition, they found a man who'd been trying to get his pregnant wife to the hospital when she'd unexpectedly gone into labor. Both man and wife were hysterical.

Lucy had been doing triage which had gotten to be her unofficial duty since her mates had discovered that she had a knack for it. She hadn't explained to them that she was a mage from a group that specialized in triage, both medical and spiritual. As she looked at the woman, she saw something odd. There was only one life, and nothing in the patient's life pattern to show that she ever had been pregnant. But there was an odd magickal signature that matched the presence that had woken her before the alarm came in. Lucy felt a chill. They had to be connected, but how?

'Pardon me ma'am, I thought your husband said were pregnant,' said Lucy.

'I was,' she said, gulping. 'Then as we entered the roundabout, all of a sudden I wasn't. I think my scream is what caused the accident. Harry jerked the wheel when he heard me.'

Lucy looked around. 'There's no blood,' she observed. 'And miscarriages aren't usually instantaneous.'

'I know,' the woman said. She looked around wildly. 'I don't know what happened.'

Lucy got Elisabeth to reassure the patient and do a more detailed examination while she finished the triage. She was even more puzzled when she completed the job. One of the lorry drivers was nowhere to be found, and his clothes and fillings were stacked on the driver's seat with his trouser legs hanging over the edge. The lorry had run over a car, and killed the driver. Just as she finished verifying that, the driver's cell phone started ringing. She grabbed the phone and muted it quickly. There was no time to explain matters to the caller, but its directory would likely contain numbers for people who would need to be notified when things settled down. She straightened to hear other cells going off, along with the lorry's radio.

The mystery deepened when she called the findings in to the hospital. The physician on duty turned out to be Rowan, a Verbena she occasionally had lunch with. He took the information, issued instructions, and then told her 'It's a zoo, here. Billingsley's gone missing, and I've been hearing rumors of disappearances in Maternity.'

Lucy cursed softly in Gaelic, then relayed instructions to the rest of the crew, then got to work. When she found time to catch her breath, she noticed a larger than usual police presence. She also heard the sounds of people hysterically calling names. She didn't have the attention to spare to find out more. Her patients came first.

The scene at the hospital was as Rowan described. One of the duty nurses took charge of the patients, and got the ambulance report. She didn't have time to talk to Rowan before going out on another call. Shite, she was supposed to be getting off duty soon. In fact, getting off duty that morning consisted of returning to base after the second call long enough to swap crews before the ambulance headed out again.

She took the opportunity to look in the men's bunk room. Yes, the same magickal signature marked Walton's bed. As far as she knew, the only thing that Walton and Billingsley had in common was their church, a radical American import that had scared her with its theocratic ranting. That couldn't be it, could it?  She called the hospital to find out if Rowan was available. He wasn't, but she was informed that he'd probably be able to make his escape in an hour. Fine. She'd meet him then.

She intercepted Rowan as he left the hospital, and invited him to breakfast, explaining that she wanted a chance to compare notes. They couldn't find an open breakfast shop, so they ended up at her flat while she scrambled some eggs and fried some bacon. While she cooked, she talked to the Verbena.
'Do you think this is what's had the probability and Time specialists so worried for the past year?' she asked him.

'If it isn't,' replied Rowan, 'then I don't want to know what is.

'I've confirmed it. Every child in Maternity vanished, and every woman in for delivery abruptly lost the child or children she was carrying with none of the usual signs of a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. That woman you brought. On a magickal level, she didn't look like she'd ever been pregnant, but yes, she had that odd signature you told me about. I called up her records, by the by. She had an ultrasound showing a nice healthy baby boy that was taken just last week.'

'What about Billingsley?' asked Lucy.

'One of the nurses swears blind that she saw him just vanish in front of her leaving behind his clothes and his glasses. There's been a few other adult disappearances in the hospital too,' said Rowan

'Now, here's the scary part. It seems like every child below a certain age and some portion of adults have vanished. Nobody knows what happened. Where the adults are concerned, some areas have been hit harder than others. America seems to have been hit worst.'

'Rowan,' said Lucy hesitantly, 'Walton and Billingsley belonged to an American church. Do you think there's a connection?'

'This Rapture thing that Billingsley was always on about?' asked Rowan. He opened his mouth to say something probably sarcastic then stopped. When he finally  spoke, he sounded thoughtful 'Maybe. I don't believe in the Rapture, but if enough people believe in it, maybe one of the things that inhabit the Darkness beyond the Horizon was able to use that belief to, ah, simulate it. Whatever it was, it definitely didn't like me.' He shuddered.

'It didn't like me, either,' said Lucy, as she served  breakfast. 'But then again, the Christian god wouldn't, would it? "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" and all that. Verbena, Euthanatos, you think they can tell the difference? And the masters of the Nephandi don't like anyone who opposes them, so that doesn't give us much to choose from does it?' She settled down to eat.

'Right, if you can't co-opt them, destroy them,' said Rowan, picking up his fork. 'Well, if you're right it's going to get much, much worse, but not right away. I vote we get some sleep while we can, who knows how much chance we'll get to do so later. I can brew up a potion for us.'

'Oh could you?' she said gratefully. 'I'm too exhausted to be any good to anybody, but I don't think I could sleep a wink without help.' Lucy turned on the radio, and they continued  eating while listening to reports of disasters all over the world. Finally, Lucy said, 'I think we need to call a pan Traditional meeting. I want to know if any of the Chorus vanished, and if so what religion were they. I also want to know if any other mages vanished. I don't think any of local mages is an Evangelical unless they're in the Chorus, but it wouldn't hurt to find out. Also, I want to know what they felt when whatever it was hit.'

'Hold on a moment,' Rowan held up his hand. There was now a report on the radio that the Pope and several of his staff had gone missing. 'Somehow, I don't think the Pope is an Evangelical Christian. You may have to rethink your theory.'

'Oh pooh.' Lucy got up  and put the dishes in the sink. 'I think I could really use that sleeping draught right about now. And I'll rethink my theory when I have more information.'

I fear this is excessively verbose and I probably didn't do a good job of writing English people, but I did want to do a Traditions teaser that wasn't based in the US. Also, I admit to having been somewhat inspired by the idea of the cell phones of the dead (and vanished) ringing.
Crossposted to Right Behind.

GURPS Mage Conversions Part 3

Okay, this hibernation thing really blows. Anyway, here at last is part three of my GURPS Mage conversion posts.
This covers unique to Mage Advantages.

On to the number crunchingCollapse )

Edit:  Fix Arete pricing anomaly,  table formatting

GURPS Mage Conversions Part 2

First, let me apologize for taking so long to get this post up. I plead a combination of lost data, election distraction and a need to hibernate. This completes the Mage or WoD specific versions of traits that already exist in GURPS. The next couple of conversion posts will cover things that are strictly White Wolf. Note, most of this is stuff from the GURPS Mage book or 1st or 2nd edition Mage. I am putting up a few tidbits from various supplements that seem to be actually relevant. I may put up other material from supplements after the next two posts if I think it appropriate or a player asks to use it and I can figure out a reasonable conversion. I have not, for example, been able to figure out a good conversion for Sphere Natural or Sphere Inept, and for now, at least, I am simply disallowing them. Iron Will just doesn't exist under GURPS 4e because for the same number of points that you get from the default point conversion, you can just buy your character's Will up 3 points.

On to the Number CrunchingCollapse )

Rolling dice

I've found a server that can handle dice rolling for the game, so players can do their own dic rolls instead of the GM rolling everything. It's called Hamete.org and I've set up a dice log there. In order to use it, you will need to register with the site using a valid email address. Let me know what email address you're using because I have to authorize you to use the dice log. I recommend using a spam catcher email address because you will need to accept their SSL certificate to  access the dice log, and it's dubious. Any dice rolled on that log will be available for all players and the GM to verify. This does not guarantee that the GM will roll all dice on the public log. I reserve the GM's right to secret rolls for things like encounters and reactions, but contests of skills and combat rolls will be posted to the dice log.

Thank you.

Gamer's Rant

This isn't related to the Right Behind game, but this is a gaming community so I thought I'd post here anyway.

The folks at GenCon raised a large sum of money to donate to Gary Gygax's favorite charity  as a memorial, and the charity refused it. Although, I'm not exactly a fan of the great EGG, I'm still pissed about this. Isn't gamers money good enough for them?

BTW, GenCon found an alternative charity to take the donation. I'm a military brat, and I know how badly this country is prone to giving the military and their families the shaft. These people seem like good ones to support.

Okay, this is the first in a series of posts on writing up Mage: the Ascension characters in Gurps Fourth Edition. Warning, the GURPS Mage book was written for Third Edition, there are some changes needed to bring it up to date. 3e to 4e conversion notes can be found here.

I would also like to take a moment to explain my cut policy. Unless the players prefer otherwise, in game posts will not be cut on the grounds that lurkers are here for the game. Mechanics and game admin type posts will be be cut on the grounds that the lurkers don't need to deal with this stuff. I may, once the game actually gets started create a "Game Admin" filter.

Number Crunchy StuffCollapse )

I currently have three player characters submitted. One more and I'll be able to start the game.

If prospective players are lacking inspiration, here's a few concepts I wouldn't mind seeing as PCs, but will be set up as NPCs if I don't get them.

1) A Buck Williams analog. This can be either a mundane reporter (who unlike Buck actually files stories) with no idea that the supernatural existed until the Event, or a Union propaganda specialist with a cover identity as a reporter who is actively involved in the cover ups.

2) A charismatic religious leader, who may or may not be Awakened. This could either be a RTC nutbar a la Reverend McKinnon from the Celestial Chorus teaser, or some opposing religious leader who need not be Christian. Picture a Muslim claiming to be the 12th Imam (or merely paving the way for him), or a Buddhist claiming to be a reincarnated bodhisattva (The Dalai Lama isn't the only one).

Heck, competing religious leaders is far more realistic than a proclamation of one world religion sticking because the AntiChrist said so.



Call for characters

I am ready to start working on characters for my Right Behind RPG. I've already got two PCs either complete or nearly so, and I'm looking for 2-10 more.

To the anonymous commenter on Right Behind who's never played in the World of Darkness, and anyone else in the same situation who wants to play: Just put together a 100 point GURPS character with up to 40 points in disadvantages (or one disadvantage worth 40 or more points) to play as a mundane who has no idea there's weird stuff in the world until a couple billion people just vanish. Hey, it gives an excuse for infodumps.  8)

WoD mages or Enlightened personnel should be built on 400 points with up to 100 points in disadvantages. I'll post some character creation notes later.  GURPS style mages, called "sorcerors" or "hedge magicians" in this game should be built on 250 points with up to 100 points in disadvantages.

I suspect that the LJ private message system is going to inadequate for actual character creation, so we can discuss the basic ideas there, but for actual character creation please use my Yahoo address: rh0adan@yahoo.com  Note: If you want to use a spreadsheet to calculate point values, I have OpenOffice and can read Excel files.  I've already got something I can use for the format if people want me to email it to them.

Crossposted to Right Behind.