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Topics - Siguson

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The Regiment / The Winter War
« on: September 06, 2013, 04:45:24 AM »
I'm planning to set a game of The Regiment in the Finnish Winter War. Here are some modifications and notes I plan to use. I hope the Swedes and Ostrobothnians out there take this in the light-hearted manner in which it was intended.

On November 30, 1939, the Ruskies (Soviet 163rd division) crossed the border between Finland and the Soviet Union and advanced from the north-east towards the village of Suomussalmi. The Soviet objective was to advance to the city of Oulu, effectively cutting Finland in half. Suomussalmi was taken with little resistance on December 7 (only two incomplete companies of covering forces led a holding action between the border and Suomussalmi), but the Finns destroyed the village before this, to deny the Soviets shelter, and withdrew to the opposite shore of lakes Niskanselkä and Haukiperä.

You are part of a regiment that has just reinforced the opposite shore of lake Niskanselka. Your main objective is to halt the Soviet advance. The Ruskies outnumber you 4 to 1. It is easy to count them because they are not wearing camouflage and they can’t ski. And those armored tractors with canons on top must be tanks. It is anyone’s guess why they are driving so many of them along logging trails in the middle of winter.

Choose a few secondary objectives from the list below. Each secondary objective is associated with one of the main ethnic groups of Finland. For each objective, two PCs should discuss how they are competing for that objective and invent something bad that will happen to them if they lose (Finns love to compete and are very creative about how they do it). Each of them marks experience when one of them wins the competition. Each PC should have one or two competitions. Details about each of the ethnic groups follow the list.

?   On Tavastian Time—locate and support a reconnaissance group that is taking too long to get back to camp

?   Cut and run like an Ostrobothnian---cut the Ruskie marching column along a logging road east of Suomussalmi

?   A Karelian Christmas Present—demoralize the Ruskies by attacking their field kitchens

?   Ask the Savonian—help a Savonian interpreter; he says he can tap into the Ruskies' phone lines (we think)

?   The Finlandssvenskar Plan—gather intel for the rest of the regiment from behind enemy lines

?   Tonight we are Laplanders—provide security for your kitchens and food supplies

Tavastians in Central Finland are salt-of-the-earth kind of people, reticent, stubborn, trustworthy, serious, pragmatic and strong. They are slow to get words out. They are slow to embrace change and slow to act. In fact, slow in every sense of the word.

Ostrobothnians in the west are the biggest show-offs. They are known for their vigor, explosive tempers and predisposition to using a puukko, a sheath-knife, to settle disagreements. If there weren’t any puukko fights and at least one death at a wedding, it wasn’t worth getting dressed up for.

Karelians in the south-east are the liveliest of the Finns. They are chatty, friendly, spontaneous and musical. Their dialect is frequently made fun of by other Finns because it makes them sound dim-witted. They like their food and have the best culinary repertoire in the country.

Savonians in the east are cheeky, witty and playful in a laid-back kind of way. They frequently use sayings, riddles, euphemisms and roundabout ways of expressing themselves. As it is impossible to get a straight answer to a question, the listener has to assume responsibility for the interpretation.

Finlandssvenskar (Finland-Swedes) are a Swedish-speaking minority inhabiting the coastal areas in the southwest. Of all Finns, they are the most sociable and community-oriented. Marrying one is like marrying a Finnish ice hockey player; you will be sharing your life not just with your spouse but with the rest of the team.

Residents of Lapland in the far north are known for their excessive appetite for reindeer meat, alcohol and sex. Considering the environment in which they live – the Arctic night lasting up to a couple months – you can hardly blame them.

(Much thanks to Wikipedia and the Xenophobe’s Guide to the Finns)


The Regiment
Designation: 27nd Infantry Regiment
Theater of Operations: Finland
Regiment Commander: Hjalmar Siilasvuo
Choose two strengths: inspiring, resolute, aggressive, cunning, honorable
And one weakness: aristocratic, inexperienced, modest, drunk

Your unit is Finnish
Operational Effectiveness:  0
Surplus: 2 supply
Sisu: 1

Choose 2 Advantages
•   Your unit was well armed by generous soviet deserters. When you attack, spend 1 gear for +1d.
•   Your unit contains a number of seasoned veterans from the civil war +1 OP
•   Your unit has some Russian speakers and friends across the border. Add surplus: +intel
•   Your unit has stolen some soviet materiel. Surplus: +1 supply
•   Your unit has access to horses, sledges and biplanes. Add +mobility.
•   Your unit the support of the best of the women’s auxilliary. Add: +lottas

And choose 1 drawback:
•   Your unit is comprised mainly of Tavastian farmers who can’t read this. Trouble: bumpkins
•   Your unit is comprised mainly Ostrobothnians, who exchange knives at weddings instead of rings. Trouble: hot-headed
•   Swedish merchants were supposed to flee *after* they unloaded your supplies. -1 Supply.
•   Your unit speaks many dialects, including Savonian. Trouble: incomprehensible
•   Your unit has been too modest to ask for replacements. Trouble: under-manned
•   Your unit has been on its feet since before the outbreak of war. Trouble: exhaustion

Company Commander
Major Matti Aarnio “Motti Matti”
Strengths: Flexible and choose one other: efficient, organized, experienced, calculating.
Choose one weakness: superstitious, lazy, manic, depressed, fatalistic, overconfident, drunk.

General Rules:

?   Instead of smokes, there is moscha (moonshine)
?   Instead of Grit, there is Sisu.

All Finns start with the Advanced move “get 1 Sisu.” But the Russians get tanks and bombers.

Add this to the list of options under “Blow Off Steam”
•   You are not drunk during the next battle

If you are drunk, take -1 ongoing but gain 1 Tough. If you want to sober up, try drinking some coffee and rolling in the snow.

All Finns start with the Ghost Soldier move, which is pretty much the same thing as the Sniper’s camouflage move (the Sniper should not take that move)

Ghost Soldier: When you hide from the enemy, roll +tactics. If you’re in a group, the person with the highest tactics rolls. On a hit, you evade detection. On a 10+, you also recover 1-stress.

Things that might be worth 1 moscha:
A Molotov cocktail
A care package from the Lotta Svard
A 240 page Russian Manual of Ski-Fighting (entertainment)
Use of a horse and sledge for a day
A blessing from a Karelian Spellsinger

brainstorming & development / Apocalypse Effect
« on: December 05, 2012, 03:37:35 PM »
Here is a link to the playbooks for a Mass Effect hack I've run at a few conventions. I also have some material for running the game that I will try to post soon.

The basic pitch for the game is below. It's set after Mass Effect 3. If you know the game, you will see that I made some assumptions about what choices were made during the trilogy. The assumptions make it easier to explain why the player characters are Spectres and are all together on one ship. Also, playing after the trilogy means there are fewer constraints about what can happen and less of a need for people to know the details of galactic history. This has been a boon for players who like science fiction, but for some unfathomable reason have not played Mass Effect.

"The Reaper War seems unreal now: cities burning, society in chaos, families set to panicked flight, the Citadel turning from the hub of galactic civilization to a corpse processing factory to a super-weapon that won the war. The legendary Commander Shepard united the galaxy like never before to destroy the Reapers. But, because the mass relays were badly damaged, the galaxy quickly fractured into isolated regions. Devastated by war and cut off from support, each system struggled for survival. From disintegrating families to the collapsing interstellar corporations, war has impacted every aspect of society. Two years later, the Council has repaired the mass relays and is determined to re-build what was lost. You are a newly appointed Spectre, a member of the Council’s Special Tactics and Reconnaissance branch, with extraordinary legal authority to restore galactic stability at any cost."

Monsterhearts / Our first game
« on: October 13, 2011, 06:48:05 PM »
I ran Monster Hearts for some friends who tend to play things in a very "over the top" style. We had a great time. Here is a summary I wrote just before our second game. The ghoul has been deliberately killing himself in bizarre ways. The infernal has been accumulating a lot of debt and then desperately seducing people so he can pass his evil onto them. Nothing bad could come from that.

We live in Devil’s Bend, somewhere in the mountains of western Oregon, where life sucks and the sun never shines. We call the poor trash living by the river “benders,” because that’s what they’re usually on. We go to Red Tail High, home of the Killer Bees. People meet up at the Beehive across from school sometimes. Sometimes they smoke pot out in back.
Abby’s a bender and a witch. A cheerleader chick, Candii, asked Abby to help her get her boyfriend Blaine back from Crystal. Blaine was with Crystal, then he was with Candii, but then it looked like he was going to get back with Crystal again. Anyway, I think Abby got together with Blaine. Candii was totally pissed so, with Max’s help, she stole Abby’s books. Then Abby gave Candii a monster period and made Max pee blood. Then Candii, Stephanie and Ms. Cross (the witchy Irish Heritage Club) kidnapped Abby and chained her up in the school basement. The scene got too hot before they could finish sacrificing her to Yogsloth, so they moved the action off campus to the Army Surplus Store. Actually, Yogsloth made Max move Abby to the van C&S used to take Abby off campus, but everyone thinks the girls hexed him into doing it.
Maxwell’s the transfer student who does favors for Demon Lord Yogsloth, who only talks to him through his toy chest. His family is totally button-down, so of course Max is a metalhead. Maxwell instigated a fight between the metalheads (Duane, Pierce) and the jocks (Ralph, Tyson). It looked like Tyson threw the first punch, so he got busted. Maxwell stole Abby’s witch books, but I can’t remember why. Did he do it for Candii? Then he made out with Candii and passed his evil onto her. Candii stole Abby’s books from Max as she ran out the door. Then Abby found her books with magic or something and took them back from Ms. Cross, who totally vowed detention on Abby. Oh, and Abby hexed Candii with a really bad period. Whatev. Maxwell also made out with Stephanie because she was there. Later, when they were fighting over Abby in the basement of the Army Surplus Store, Max beat Stephanie’s brains in with a hammer. And, at some point, Max got it on with Nurse Doddy, who ran screaming through the halls of the school. Nurse Doddy is now on "medical leave."
Lucien Michelle’s a freshman who wears slacks, so he's obviously a vampire. We thought he was lame until we had a party at his place, which is that awesome abandoned monastery. He has the best parents ever—rich and never at home. Lucy messes with people’s minds. He got out of computer class by threatening to out Mr. Tandy (who totally has a thing for Mr. Ross, the art teacher). He made 12 year old Bethany try to jump her sister, Crystal. Then he made Ms. Cross confess to pulling the fire alarm and being a lesbian, which we totally knew all along. The part about being a lesbian, I mean. Why did she pull the fire alarm? Then he made Maxwell’s dad go into the basement of the Army Surplus Store and decapitate the skinhead owner with a bayonet. Go Lucy!
Crystal is a varsity cheerleader, even though she’s only a junior. Her mortal parents run the Snoqualmie Chalet. Her “real dad” is the King of Winter. She’s dated everyone on the football team except Ralph, acquainting them each in turn with her cold, cold heart. She hooked up with Pierce when the band (Defiler) played at that barn that burned down. Then she got it on with him in, like, cottage 11 at the Chalet. When the Demon Lord Yogsloth made Stephanie and Candii take Abby under the Army Surplus Store, Crystal called her "dad," who totally kicked Yogsloth’s bloody, wormy butt all over the basement. Crystal almost died (as we know it) when her dad came around. Pierce was there with Crystal when it all happened, but he's not quite bright enough to figure out what really happened, even though he's in Yearbook.
Xerxes died last year in a car accident on his way back from a show. Now he’s back with a hunger for chaos. I think he hangs out with the metalheads and that band, Defiler (Duane, Pierce, Cavis). Xerxes started a fire at the Defliler show in the barn. This creepy stalker girl, Bridgit, stole his underwear and burned up in the fire with him. They woke up naked in the men's restroom at school, somehow. Now she’s a ghoul, too. They were totally eating a dead pitt bull and doing it in the Army Surplus Store when Maxwell’s dad walked over them, carrying a bayonet and talking about shear stress. They kept doing it. Now he has a hunger for flesh, too.

Dungeon World / multiple attackers, multiple defenders
« on: September 23, 2011, 02:35:23 PM »
I'm not sure what to do when a character is fighting more than one monster at a time, or if multiple characters are ganging up on one monster and they all choose to hack and slash. There are many ways these situations could be handled, but it would be nice to see some official examples.

Apocalypse World / Apocalypse World of Darkness
« on: March 21, 2011, 06:06:16 PM »
I'm running a game using my favorite creatures and powers of the New World of Darkness (i.e., mages, geist, changelings) without the standard setting (20,000 factions of gothic-posers) or game mechanics (the probability curve of the d10 system is too skewed--too frequently you see things like 3 successes on 6 dice and 1 success on 10 dice). Many of the people I play with want to play a supernatural game where a lot of the mysteries are detailed in advance* but are disatisfied with the NWoD setting and the mechanics.

(*There are pros and cons about detailing the mysteries of the universe in advance instead of making them up during play. I won't get into that here.)

I came up with a hack to use AW-like game mechanics without needing to modify the rest of the NWoD system. All it needs to do is determine whether an action is successful and, if it is, how many successes were rolled. Of course, I would like to come up with AW-style playbooks as well when I find the time. I've gotten positive feedback about the mechanics (finally, someone who's good at something can actually expect to get a good roll most of the time), so I thought I'd share them here. Below is an excerpt from the house rules I wrote for the players:


Dice Rolls

We will use a 2d6 system instead of the multi-d10 system in the standard rules. Whenever you would normally roll several d10, instead roll 2d6 + Attribute + Ability. Each dot in an attribute or ability counts as one point. You can spend Willpower to add 3 to a roll. If your opponent’s defense applies, your opponent can spend Willpower to subtract 2 from your roll. Otherwise, bonuses or penalties that would normally add or subtract a 10-sided die instead add or subtract one from the roll.

If the result of the roll is 10 or more, you achieve 1 success plus one additional success for every 3 points over 10. The following list summarizes this rule:
9 or less = no successes
10 to 12 = one success
13 to 15 = two successes
16 to 18 = three successes
19 to 20 = four successes
21+ = five successes

So a person with Dexterity 1, Drive 1, swerving to avoid a body in the road would normally roll 2d10 and have about a 50% chance of rolling at least 1 success under the standard rules. Under the modified system, they would roll 2d6 +2 and succeed by rolling 8 or more on the dice, which is close to 50%.

Having the right equipment lets you do something better when you know what you’re doing, but does not actually make you better at something, which is effectively what the standard rules for equipment do. In this game, equipment bonuses add 1 to 3 successes to your result, but only if you get at least 1 success without them. Here is how to convert the equipment bonus in the normal system into a number of successes in this modified system:

1 = 1 success
2-3 = 2 successes
4+ = 3 successes

For example, a lockpick that would add 1 die to a Security Skill roll in the standard rules will instead add 1 success to a successful Security Skill roll and nothing to an unsuccessful roll. A garage that would add 3 dice to a Crafts Skill roll in the standard rules will instead add 2 successes to a successful roll. A shotgun that would normally add 4 dice to a Firearms Skill roll will instead add 3 successes to a successful roll.

The Chance Die

Whenever penalties reduce you to rolling 2d6 + 0 or less, you can’t get more than 1 success and you critically fail if you roll snake eyes. If the penalties are high enough, it is possible to end up subtracting something from your roll.

9 Again, 8 Again, Rote Actions

If you have a “9 again” ability, add 1 success if your roll results in 4 or more successes. If you have an “8 again” ability, add 1 success if your roll results in 3 or more successes. If you perform a “rote action” and get any successes, the minimum number of successes you can have on that action is 3.

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