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Topics - O'Borg

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Help Desk / Apparently I keep posting in the Spice Girls thread
« on: March 09, 2008, 12:13:04 PM »
My last post in the Spice Girls thread was 10:37am on the 5th, but according to the forum index I last posted on Friday at 6:30am and laterly this morning at 6:14am - my alarm clock doesnt go off until 6:35am on weekdays so I'm pretty sure it wasnt me.

And the forum also says my last visit apart from today was 3pm on the 7th.

Something odd happening there!

What do you prefer to play / run : extraordinary characters or ordinary characters who find themselves extraordinary situations?
By "extraordinary" I mean characters who, if they were an NPC, would stand out like a sore thumb amidst their peers.
Obviously in some games, every character is going to be far enough removed from the average to make this question moot ;)

Help Desk / User Reputation
« on: April 24, 2007, 10:43:30 AM »
The recent Nox business (Noxgate? ;) ) got me thinking.
A few VBulletin based boards I've been on have had the User Reputation function enabled.
A couple of them just use it as a mutual admiration society, but I'm wondering if it might come in handy here. It's possible Nox won't be the only user of this site who should come with a public sanity warning attached. User reputation is one way of letting everyone know what the rest of the sites users think of them.

Completely hypothetical situation -
Your area has no Friendly Local Gaming Stores and you're not sure of the size of the local gaming scene either.
How would you go about creating a viable FLGS that might actually turn a decent profit?
I have a few ideas, but knowing this site has a few people who run or work in FLGS's, I'd like to hear their ideas before I share my dream (which, quite frankly, is as likely to be realised as the one about making love to Jeri Ryan in zero gee ;) )

I've been toying with the idea of running a WW2 special ops PbP game, and instead of the normal SAS / Commando / SOE thing, I thought it would be cool to focus on the LRDG, a unit who's missions largely aren't well publicised so I'd be able to sidestep the history factor to a great extent.
However there is a significant problem - each LRDG truck commonly carried three men, which is good. But the LRDG usually operated in squadrons of five or six trucks, and I'm not up to handling eighteen players! Nor do I want to have a special-special ops group with one or two lone trucks wandering the desert.

So, do I have a handful of PCs and fill the rest of the squadron with NPCs, or do I give each Player the responsibility for three PCs in their truck?

Tooling around the net earlier today searching for an air-raid siren ring tone, I found this beauty : The Chrysler Air Raid siren.
Powered by a 331ci hemi V8 and capable of over 138db at 100 feet away, this thing is reputably able to turn rain into fog and start fires by sheer vibration.

Media and Inspiration / My new keyboard
« on: March 07, 2007, 05:01:35 AM »
Found a link to The Steampunk Keyboard that would go very well with the Flash Gordon desklamp.
I already have a stock of spare IBM 102key keyboards, if only I had the metalworking tools and skills to go with it. :)

Media and Inspiration / I just found my new desk-lamp
« on: February 15, 2007, 11:26:39 AM »

Design, Development, and Gameplay / On damage systems...
« on: February 12, 2007, 06:39:13 AM »
Some of this is random wibbling whilst I gather my thoughts, but please bear with me :)
Two of my favourite fantasy RPGs are Dragon Warriors and the old Lone Wolf gamebooks. Two things I love about the combat system in Dragon Warriors is that it separates the Attack and Defense into two stats, and it separates the idea of physical damage and punching through armour by giving each weapon an armour bypass stat (dice) and a damage stat (fixed). Its the fixed damage that bugs me as, as far as I'm concerned, my level 20 combat monster should be able to decapitate a level 1 goblin with a single swipe of his +3 big-sword of goblin slaying (without relying on rolling a critical hit)...
This is the good thing about the damage system used in Lone Wolf, IMHO, because it directly links the damage dealt to how much better your attack is to their defense, so level-20 combat monster can split skulls in a single swipe, but two evenly matched duellists may score 1-point hits off each other for a dozen rounds before one of them succumbs (or if you prefer the luck-runs-out theory of hit points, takes a fatal blow)
So, in a house-ruling frenzy several years ago, I melded the two systems and created a vast, Rolemaster style damage table varying weapon damage by type and degree of success, whilst keeping the armour bypass rules unchanged. A year or two later that I found the documents laying around my HDD and translated it into a simpler percentage formula, where an only-just-made-it hit got something like 20% of the normal weapon damage, and a maximum (but not critical) success did 300%. Criticals always bypassed armour and always killed.
My players tested this by picking a fight with a group of high-level NPC knight crusaders whilst still travelling to the adventure and promptly got their asses handed to them noticably quicker than usual, so it didn't get their vote despite me pointing out what would happen with they used it on a group of lower ranking creatures...:rolleyes:
On a side note, I very nearly stole the Armour Bypass concept for a Cyberpunk 2020 houserule during discussions about the problems with the standard CP2020 system not allowing for small, high velocity bullets penetrating armour better than big, slow rounds, but not doing as much damage. Unfortunately I picked the wrong ammunition types when I gave an example and was shouted down by the sites resident gun-bunny and asstard...:rolleyes: But I thought it would have worked nevertheless ;)

It's late and I'm listening to what I call my 'Nam mix through winamp (lots of mid-60s stuff), and it's giving me an idea for a Vietnam war themed game, inspired by TV show Tour of Duty.
Problem is, how do I handle rank in games? It's unlikely the group will all be the same rank even in an elite spec-ops team.

The last military game I played, most of the players were privates, the squad sargeant was an NPC and two of us players were corporals. I limited my orders to general "Stating the obvious" commands and during an ambush, defining arcs of fire. Players complained they werent getting a chance to RP if I was telling them which direction to shoot in - which I thought was kind of my characters job. :confused:

So how do you actually deal with rank in Roleplaying, when if played realisticly, the guys RPing the lowest ranks are obliged to do what they're told by the guys RPing the NCOs and officers?

Media and Inspiration / Marine Commandos in rescue bid.
« on: January 17, 2007, 09:22:36 AM »
This might be slightly less dramatic than it sounds, but still :
They harnessed themselves to the side of an Apache gunship, landed in hot LZ to recover their missing comrade (who sadly turned out to me KIA not MIA). When you consider what the Afghans traditionally do to captured enemies, I'd say these guys need tailored trousers with reinforced crotches.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Best characters?
« on: January 15, 2007, 07:05:19 AM »
In opposition to the frequent "Awful characters" posts that appear on RPG websites, what are some of the best characters you've seen played? Either a great concept, great development or simply an excellent job of roleplaying?

Other Games / So I had to lock it in the car...
« on: January 02, 2007, 06:11:30 AM »
...or I wouldnt have gotten any sleep.
For XMas, I treated myself to a new graphics card and a couple of games.
First off was Call of Duty 2. I've played CoD 1 to death and loved every mission (except possibly the opening of the Stalingrad mission where you have to dodge MG fire unarmed).
CoD2 was a revelation in graphics. I marvelled at the snow, the extra detail in the models, the heat haze above fires, and then got into the action.
Now most of these WW2 FPS games I've gotten into the habit of calmly aiming and shooting the enemy as they spary bullets frantically in my direction. I've done the same in Half-Life mod Day of Defeat against real people too.
CoD 2 is the first game I've found immersive enough that my character hit the deck at first sight of the enemy and sprayed bullets around just to keep them from shooting back! I'd just gotten my heart rate back down into double figures when I got a Russian sniper mission.
"Red building, second floor!" said one of the spotters as I picked up the scoped Mosin-Nagant. What building? Second floor? Can't see squat through the scope or binoculars.
I looked at the other troops and noticed their breath steaming in the cold. Nice touch, thought I - then as I turned back to the scope I realised I could the German sniper's breath steaming past the edge of a windowframe where he was hiding. Damn this game is awesome!
One niggle is the SMG issued to the British troops in the North Africa campaign only has a 20rnd magazine. I havent checked the historical accuracy, but it means I've reverted to the tactic of nicking a German MP40 asap rather than run out of ammo mid-fight.
I'd been given a copy of Oblivion shortly after it was released. Unfortunately my graphics card then couldnt run the game at a decent FPS unless I reduced the resolution and detail down to the level of Pong. Even then, lag and jerkiness in combat meant I accidently shot the heir of Uriel Septim in the back of the head with a silver arrow, and despite managing to parley with him, getting apprehended by an Imperial Legionaire miles from anywhere and being divested of my hard-stolen goods. In frustration I'd uninstalled the game and put the dvd under a belt sander to stop me wanting to try it again.
But my new card will run it at 1650x1080, with most of the eyecandy on, and hit the 60fps limit of my monitor. It's one of those games where I have to stop occasionally and just look at the countryside - and despite some minor quests that have me running around the countryside of waiting for shops to open and the highly annoying 'leveling the enemy up' policy I'm addicted.
So much so that last night, I locked the DVD in the car outside just so I wouldnt be up until 3am playing it and could get a decent nights sleep before returning to work today :)

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Original Characters
« on: December 23, 2006, 12:22:55 PM »
Quote from: Terry Pratchett in Guards! Guards!
There is something very unexpected about this sword. It isn't magical. It hasn't got a name. When you wield it you don't get a feeling of power, you just get blisters; you could believe it was a sword that had been used so much that it had ceased to be anything other than a quintessential sword, a long piece of metal with very sharp edges. And it hasn't got destiny written all over it. It's practically unique, in fact.  

Maybe it's just me, but I keep running into characters who are unrealistically unique. Not in the half-vampyre-werewolf-jedi-elf munchkin special sense, but with a background that tends to push the edge of beleiveabilty.
"Hey, have you heard about Bob? His parents were travelling acrobats who were slain by a necromancer, he was taken in by Elves until they were raided by Dark Elves who captured him, he spent five years as a slave miner until he was sold at market but rescued by a bandit gang on the way to his new masters castle, and after a year with the bandits he was caught by the Watch and the Judge made him join the army or go to jail!"

Many roleplayers seem to take character creation as a personal challenge to their creativity, striving to make something ever more unique and amazing that still fits into the Level 1 Starting Character mould without pushing needle on the GM's Munchkin-O-Meter into the red.
In recent memory, I can only think of a few characters I've seen who's background wouldn't be a major talking point in company - and one of them was a deliberate effort on my part to create a character who came from mundane origins.

He was practically unique. :D

Media and Inspiration / I/We for non-native English speakers
« on: December 13, 2006, 07:16:59 AM »
Question for the non-Native English speakers : does the concept of "I" and "We" translate easily from English, especially for people who's native langauge is Arabic?
I've been working with and assisting a guy at work who speaks English as a second language. Every time he talks to the boss about work we've done together, he always says "I've done".
I'm trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt over his English skills, and that he's not trying to take full credit for shared work (which doesnt bother me as I've worked for the boss for five years compared to his three months), but some of his recent actions are leading me to beleive he's a bit of a selfish git.

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