29 Jul 2016

Cortext+ BattleTech - ComStar Technician

With two MechWarriors built - Rahela and Victor - and involved in a plotline of sorts, it's time to flesh out the core cast a little.  Right now, I see two more characters needed, one a ComStar employee, the other the commander of the Word of Blake forces.  The latter, though, is the opposition, thus effectively an NPC and doesn't need to be introduced just yet.  The ComStar employee, though, does need an intro and, thus, a character sheet for future reference.

28 Jul 2016

Commentary Returns! Rahela and Victor!

Last week, I staged an encounter between two characters created to try hacking the Firefly RPG for the BattleTech setting.  It went turn by turn, but there was a hint of a plot there.  In fact, I have a rough idea of where I'm going.

Most of the background comes out of BattleTech canon, though the various sourcebooks published by FASA and Catalyst Game Labs.  The specific books I referenced are A Time of War, the official BattleTech RPG; Handbook House Liao, covering the Capellan Confederation; Handbook Major Periphery States, for the Magistracy of Canopus info; 1st Somerset Strikers for the Axman's stats, Technical Readout 2750 for the Hussar's, and Technical Readout 3025 for the Hunchback's.  When I write fanfic, I do my research*.

The example battle serves as the teaser for the unnamed series.  Two MechWarriors from different backgrounds, one a noble from a Periphery state, the other a career soldier from a major House, must now team up to deal with a bigger threat than each other.  Both are professionals and don't have a reason to dislike each other.  The Word of Blake invasion throws things into disarray.

The fight, which took paragraphs to resolve, doesn't really cover that much time.  There are liberties taken.  Rahela's laser can't really penetrate armour that well, but Cortex+, Firefly's core mechanics, run more on narrative than numbers.  The Blakist mooks in their Hunchbacks were expendables.  The scene is the pre-credits teaser, a burst of action to introduce two of the main characters and set up the story to follow.  BattleMechs made of explodium works for the narrative, though I did try to make the destruction believable.  Head shots in BattleTech are dangerous, especially with the heavier weapons.

I have discovered a small problem with my setup.  Zurich, which was a Capellan world in 3025, wound up in the hands of the Federated Suns after the Federated Commonwealth Civil War.  I could do some handwaving - the Lyran forces are just waiting for a JumpShip to arrive to take them back home while Sun Tsu Liao, Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation and First Lord of the Second Star League, could have suggested a Canopian unit to act as peacekeepers during the transition.  The Chancellor may also be looking at regaining the world; Zurich had a weapons factory, at least in 3025.  The problems of playing in someone else's extensive sandbox.

Mechically, the battle could have been more interesting.  I could have had Rahela and Victor go for more plot points, breaking up the handfuls of eight-sided dice used in some rolls.  However, I let things go organically.  Choices were made on the situation, not  for demonstration.  I did try to use the different distinctions and brought in some of the triggers.  However, as proof of concept, the 'Mech battle worked, at least when treating the opposition as just extras.  I should try another battle later with at least one opponent being a major NPC, built like Rahela and Victor.

Tomorrow, introducing the third character for this extended example.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, the problems with adapting toys.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Transformers.

* More research than I did for last year's NaNoWriMo project.

22 Jul 2016

Cortex+ BattleTech - MechWarriors Are Go!

After creating a second MechWarrior last week, the next question is how would the Firefly RPG handle a 'Mech battle?  To find out, I'll use Rahela and Victor to demonstrate.  You may want to place the character sheets in their own tabs to follow along.

The Setup
With Rahela from a Periphery state and Victor from the Lyran Alliance, normally they wouldn't cross paths.  The Capellan Confederation lies in between, but therein lies the solution.  The Capellans have a treaty with the Magistracy of Canopus and the Taurian Concordat that allows for peacekeeping forces from the two Periphery states to serve in the former Chaos March region.  Said region saw forces from both sides of the Federated Commonwealth Civil War pass through.  Choosing a random planet that has Lyran forces still in garrison that House Liao wants to reclaim isn't a problem.  Placing a Canopian unit on planet lets me create instant conflict between the characters, though both sides have orders to not start a war.

To add to the fun, the year is 3067, months after the second Star League disbands.  The Major Houses would have gone back to their state of cold wars with each other, but one faction took the disbanding hard.  The Word of Blake, who splintered away from ComStar after the Clan Invasion, was never the most stable bunch.  When ComStar made the decision to shun the mysticism of centuries of being the technological leaders of the Inner Sphere, the more faithful broke away, following the religious aspects instead.  The Word was hoping to get a seat in the second Star League and, well, having their religious goal thwarted sent them off the deep end, leading to the Jihad.

15 Jul 2016

Cortext+ BattleTech - Lyran Scout

Going back a bit, I hacked the Firefly RPG for use as a BattleTech RPG.  The result was Baronessa Rahela Dalca, a young MechWarrior from the Magistracy of Canopus.  This time around, I want to create a character from one of the major Houses in the setting, House Steiner.  The core concept is that the character is he is a career MechWarrior in the Lyran Armed Forces, an officer, but without the noble connections Rahela has.

Since the distinction will be needed, I'll add it here for easy reference.  The MechWarrior distinction was created with the guidelines found in the Firefly core rules and represents the basic training a Mech pilot should have.  As a reminder, Drive covers driving anything on the ground, from skateboards and motorcycles to hovertanks and BattleMechs.  Operate refers to using most electronic systems, from handheld tablets to starship navigation systems.  Shoot covers firing anything, from longbows to long-range missile (LRM) racks.
MechWarrior d8
*    Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
      Born in the Pilot's Seat:  Spend 1PP to step up or double your 'Mech's Engine attribute for your next roll.
      Alpha Strike:  Take a Heat Exhaustion d8 complication to step up or double your 'Mech's Systems attribute when firing a weapon.

Highlighted Skills: Drive, Operate Shoot
This time around, I'll go step by step, though I may just gloss over the full approach.

8 Jul 2016

Fun with Traveller - The Imperial Citizen

In the past, I've created characters who had experience in a service of one sort or another.  But what would a Traveller character from a civilian background would look like?  Fortunately, Mongoose Traveller has a book specific for that question, Book 10: Cosmopolite.  For this, I'll start with a character from Trin, the capital of the Trin's Veil subsector in the Spinward Marches.

1 Jul 2016

Old Concept, New Game III - Brenna

Continuing from last week, I'm heading in a different direction.  Unlike Jyslyn and Michaelus, Brenna Halliday wasn't a AD&D character ever.  Instead, she came about as I toyed with the mechanics of Champions.  I also did get to play her in a play-by-email campaign.  Brenna re-appeared for NaNo 2009 in Tales of the Soul Blade.  The commentary ignores Brenna's RPG beginnings, but does go into the thought processes that created her.  Her powers, though, were a different matter.

The idea of the Soul Blade, at least when generated by Brenna, was a stun-only attack that could go through most materials but could be blocked by someone with high will, with an alternate form that could kill but was also blocked normally.  The blade's colour reflected the attack, silver-white for the stun, blood red for the lethal, reflecting Brenna's feelings about each form.  In Champions, this was represented by a Multipower with two slots, one a No Normal Defense zero-range Energy Blast, the other a zero-range Ranged Killing Attack*.  The Soul Blade wasn't Brenna's only ability, though.  She also had psychometry, letting her read the past of an object by touch, and second sight, letting her see spirits and the auras of people, both detailed in The Ultimate Mentalist.

For the new game, I'll use the Valiant Universe the Roleplaying Game.  I've highlighted it in the past a few times, once to work out Nasty, once to see how well it could handle being used for Reboot, and once to contrast it with an older RPGValiant has a simpler character generation system than Champions but still has the older game's flexibility.  The system worked well wth Nasty, so lets see how it handles Brenna.

Happy Canada Day!

Eh!  (Source)