Thursday, September 29, 2011

Come On, Turn on, Tune In, Drop Out, With Me......

5150: New Beginnings is finally out, and its awesome. Just got in my first game... unfortunately the camera ran out of batteries after the first pic and I didn't have any of the required battery type in the closet, so I'm going to have to use my limited writing ability to try to give this batrep.

I decided to (for once) actually go through the whole character generation, campaign, and encounter process in the proper way, as written in the rules.

Winston Brasil (First person to get that probably doesn't deserve that much, its not that obscure)
Basic, Male
Star Power: 5 (probably not going to use this)
Bonus Dice: (ended up using this, because its fun having to pick and choose when to use these... and any one die isn't likely to be that powerful).
Class: Dropout
Profession: Criminal Element- Net Runner (Sav)
Motivation: I wasn't sure if 'player defined' meant that I didn't have to have one of the listed motivations or if it meant I just got to choose which one. It never came up, and I don't think it does frequently... Survival/Duty seems to fit best with the character I have in mind (Not Duty to NHC, however, Duty to what he thinks is right).
Attributes: Smooth, Nerves of Steel
Rep: 5
Fitness: 4
People: 3
Savvy: 5
Science: 0
Items: BA Pistol, Local Com, Knife, Apartment, Cycle, 11x Item

Mr. Brasil is a young (this first encounter is on his 24th birthday) man who has become disillusioned with New Hope City. Using his learning from school, he's decided to become a Netrunner. His overall goal hasn't been determined yet, but he's moving towards trying to either get out of NHC or trying to change the way things work... possibly through revolution. For now, he's just a petty technological criminal/mercenary.

He has some friends:

LWC (Law abiding Working Class) Med Tech Jimmy Nolan, a fairly new friend, met through Ted Morris. (Lucky Bastard, Rep 3, Sci 3)

LWC Computer Tech Ted Morris- went to school with Brasil. (Poser, Rep 4, Fit 4). Not very good at his job (Sav 2), but a fun guy.

Dropout Broker Mr. Dallas Ryan, also a friend from school. He's a bit wealthier, more upper middle class than the rest of the gang. However, as noted by his Dropout status, he's not happy with his life... though this has more to do with him being somewhat selfish and ambitious than with moral reasons, which are the cause of Winston's rebellion. (Greedy Rep 3).

LWC Homemaker Mrs. Elizabeth Ryan, married to the above, much more content with her life than Mr. Ryan is. (Shy Rep 3).

In addition, I rolled up the following character and decided it would be more interesting if she started off a bit more separate from the rest of the group, for dramatic purposes.

Dropout Waitress Anna Corrazon- the waitress at the local bar/coffee shop that the gang frequents. She is going through a similar change to Winston, starting to see NHC not as a place of hope, but as the corrupt and gang infested wasteland that it is... (Stunning, Rep 4, Pep 4)

Anyway, on to the encounter:


Out of school.  No job. Gangs on the streets, police that arrest everyone but the criminals themselves...
New Hope City is anything but that. It crushes you, tells you you're nothing. You can't have dreams. You got to just take what you got and hope it doesn't get taken away.

I'm not doing that anymore.

Time to try and make a difference. I'm not going to fade out, I'm going to burn out in a blaze of glory.

Now I just got to see which of my friends will actually follow me...

January 9th (Winston's Birthday)

Chillin Encounter (9PM)
Lower Income Area (Law-2)
Raining/Night- 6” LOS, whole encounter.
3 PEFs  (Sections 8, 5, 2- down the main road)
Objective: Discuss being a Netrunner with friends, get them to join Winston in rebellion against society. Also, get a date with that cute waitress.
Area: Low Income (Home), the local bar/coffee shop, the intersection.
Everyone is at the bar, except Winston, who is at his home.


1 Bar              2 Road 3 Apartment
4 Road           5 Road 6 Road
7 Warehouse  8 Road 9 Home Apartment

Just crossing the road....

Winston steps out into the dark pouring rain. Turning to pull the door shut, a dark, cloaked figure steps towards him and pulls out a machine pistol... "Show me some hands! I said SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!" 

Great, the first PEF is already a guy trying to rob me... looks like I got the dystopian vibe right when I read through the rules...

"Hey, buddy, I don't have anything."
"Shut up!" 
"Alright, Al-" as he raises his hands from his sides, Winston pulls out his powerful D79 8 Shot Revolver and shoots the ganger at point  blank... Unfortunately, the quick draw didn't make him any more accurate, and the only shot that hit was in the ganger's left hand. 

The ganger falls, cursing, grabbing at his destroyed hand. 
Shocked at firing at another man for the first time in his life, Winston fails two activations lowers his gun and his jaw and stares at the injured man in front of him.... who starts to stand up and raise his gun, "You sonnuva-" Winston shoots again, this time more accurate and confident, right in the brian pan.  The ganger, already dead, squeezes the trigger as he falls, shooting off a dozen shots into the air. 

Well, that was exciting. Good thing Winston's apartment is too cheap to have any form of security or cameras- it was self defense, but that hardly guarantees good results if the police investigate his new life as a netrunner. 

Through the dark rain, Winston can't see any witnesses... but surely the police have already been called.

Winston runs across the street to the warehouse and continues towards the Bar and Green. 

On the way he is stopped by two policeman... who look at Winston's ID and politely apologize for taking his time.

Winston gets across the street and starts going towards the door.

Two gangers in the Bar and Green see what looks like a fairly easy mark... so they both grab their weapons and push out through the door, pushing Winston with them.

Not this again. Two times in what, 5 minutes? More dystopian than I thought... I guess the fact that I'm in a low law level area at night isn't helping, but jeez...

The two guys start to draw their weapons. They aren't quite as good as the first ganger, though, so Winston easily gets the drop on them and shoots on through the noggin and the other in the leg... they both fall on the floor, one bleeding badly and unconscious, the other clearly dead. 

Intense night, huh? And all just to get to the Winchester... literally across the street.

Holstering his pistol, Winston steps into the bar, spots his friends over at the counter, and sits down...

"Happy birthday Winston."
"Jeez, yeah, you guys won't believe what's been going on..."

He explained to them about how sick he was of NHC, and how he wanted to either leave or change things.... and he wanted their help.

"We're with ya, to the end." says Ted. 
Jimmy nods, "Yeah. You've never let us down... I'm not sure you're right about these things, but I suppose I owe you one for always giving me a place to crash after the harder tests..." 
Dallas scratched his chin, thinking for a moment, before speaking. "Way I see it, a good, hard worker like myself can't get ahead very easily. If we can fix that, I'm all for it." 
Mrs. Ryan shook her head. "I don't like this. Sounds dangerous. But it sounds like I won't change all of your minds, so..."

They all nodded, and they started to get up to leave.
Ted stayed for a moment longer.
"I never knew you were so disappointed with..." 
Ted looked into his drink. "I guess my life isn't what I'd always wanted either... I'm not any good at computers, you know."
"I know."
"But its not so bad-"
"Ted, you won't be able to change my mind. I'm set: I'm either going to change NHC or leave it, possibly in a coffin."
"Alright, Winston... you know I've always had your back."
Winston looks up and sees the cute waitress cleaning a table a in the next room.
"Its getting late," says Winston, "You better head home... I'll be right after you."
"Alright. Happy birthday."

A minute later the waitress was cleaning the bar, and Winston was looking like he was getting ready to leave... "Hey," he says, "When do you get off work?" 
She smiles. "5 minutes." 
"Name's Winston."
He smiled. There seemed to be a sad understanding between the two, as if both knew that their lot wasn't a good one, but that that common problem might lead them to happiness.
Winston would die trying to change NHC... but maybe there are things worth living for.

(Both objectives accomplished- major success people challenge on Anna, which required the final bonus die to do, as she has a crazy high Pep score on men- the rest were used to win those combats- and the entire group successfully passed their keeping together test, meaning they'd all stand by Winston's rebellion... or whatever it is that he's doing. Also, gained +1 people due to successful encounter.)

Fun game. Rather intense combat, and the RPGish elements are fun... you need to fill in the blanks, but thats what makes it fun, in a lot of ways. 

I feel like I might have messed something up, getting two gang attacks in the course of walking across the street, but I was walking alone, with a mediocre Pep score, at night, etc etc.... and I rolled high. So maybe this was just a lesson about not walking alone at night in poor neighborhoods.... 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Also Sprach Zarathustra

Well, now that the regular game is working well, and 5150 New Beginnings is (hopefully) only days away, I decided to work on another big aspect of the game thats been more or less neglected up to this point: Orbital Mechanics. 

So, I decided to do a simple game using the rules I'd written (fairly simple, though complex enough that any game involving a planet WILL focus on the planet and a few ships, most likely). Not a wargame: A peaceful game of a space station orbiting Earth (or a similar planet) once along an ellipse, and then, after a full orbit, a rocket is launched to meet the station.

It should be noted that the fact that the planet is moving, the Oberth effect, gravity (of course), and so on are all taken into account in the game (in a simplified way- they capture the essence of the thing, even if it ain't a perfect representation of reality), meaning that you have a pretty good representation of real life... and for orbital games, that is a VERY good thing. 

Orbital games (in a game mechanics sense, not in a narrative sense) are sorta under the category of 'advanced rules.' They complicate the games, make player decisions harder, and are better with less ships. So I see these being a cool addition to 'spice up' the games of experienced players, while inexperienced players will want to ignore most near planetary actions (though they could just say that a fight is in orbit, and just use normal rules- works pretty well for very close range fights, as its all relative). 

Honestly, I can't wait to see how players use these... trips to the moon? Space War games? Cold War gone hot satellite warfare? 


Astute viewers will notice the the space station 'fell' slightly towards the planet. I kept playing (it wasn't very interesting) and noticed that after several more orbits it did, in fact, slip into a more irregular orbit that eventually caused it to crash.

Thats why you need to occasionally thrust a space station, in real life too. Also, more careful initial placement would negate that- i just plopped it down in the gravity zone I thought would look nicest, but if I'd placed it on the edge of the '1" pull' zone then it possibly could've gone even longer with no change to the orbit... though the orbit would've been more circular.

Live and learn. 

So... pretty cool.