Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thoughts and changes on the Grim Hack from the play reports.

Am I intelligent or just cunning? Dexterous or agile? I ponder such in my garden of death...

Thoughts and changes on the Grim Hack from the play reports.

New rule on skills: Knowledge, artistic, and crafting skills: When skill is first attained, it gives a 10% bonus to the attribute check when rolling for success. A big difference with other d100/BRP style games and WFRP is that WFRP characters start out much weaker. It’s common for key starting skills that a BRP-type character has at creation to be in the area of 70-80% (however, these rules also allow a character to advance skills beyond 100%).

Possible changes I’m considering: As my whole idea for the Grim Hack was a rules lite version of WFRP, there are a few things I’m considering.
·       Forsaking hit locations: Reduces some of the ‘fiddliness’ from both combat and purchasing/looting gear. Armor values would remain the same (Plate + chain=2AP, Plate or chain=1 AP, Leather 1AP vs. light damage, Shield good for 1AP). Would require a complete rewrite of crit tables, however.
·       Reducing the number of Attributes: Basically combining Agility and Dexterity, and Cunning and Intelligence. It’s only been two adventures, but I remain unconvinced on the need for two differing aspects of a particular attribute.

On a side note, Bob is thinking of running Against the Giants with my Grim Hack rules! Made me all warm and fuzzy to hear that!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Deep Space 13 map and legend.

Deep Space 13 map and legend

Here’s an example I used for one of my one-shot adventures to test my Grim Hack rules. It can be used with any ruleset, however, if anyone wants the stats, I’ll post ‘em. Brief descriptions of the opponents follows later in the post. If anyone runs this, please let me know how it went.

For the brief introduction I used (and character archetypes) see here.

Sorry about the odd numbering, but when I start writing rooms/encounters, I do it as they come to me, then add them to the map. I pretty much am just transcribing pretty much exactly what I had wrote in my notebook.

State of Station and existing Runabout: Pipes, wires, and structures of human flesh that certainly don’t belong cover the ceilings and walls, all dripping pus and gore onto the decks. See Aliens. You may describe the Borg found on this station similarly, see picture here.

Various locations have Control Panels for various systems. As these have been corrupted by the Borg Hypergeometric Virus, it takes a skill check to get anything from them. See Panel section below.

1.        Airlock: desiccated corpses in Federation uniform. No equipment. 1 Cyber-Vermin patrols gangway to Station proper.
2.        Reactor Room: Power-core dark with a massive creature, the Borgoth, covered in tentacles, pustules, and power cables wrapped around it. See picture in this post.
3.        Command Center/Bridge: Borg Commander and two Borg. Corrupted Science, Communications, Engineering, and Security Panels. These are the most corrupted on the Station. A fumble on these skill checks destroys the panel. Clue 1 can be found here in the Science Panel.
4.        Brig: 2 Cyber-Vermin. 3 Starfleet prisoners in rags, obviously tortured, in separate cells. “They tortured us, they laughed while they did it! Borg have never done that!” “There’s no one left in Starfleet. It started somewhere in the Alpha quadrant. We thought we were the last uncorrupted Station left.”
5.        Armory: One Phaser rifle, corrupted (on use, failed Willpower check causes user to surrender self to Borg when encountered).
6.        Holodeck: Recurring nightmare imagery of the Borg invasion of Earth.
7.        Mess Hall: 3 Cyber-Vermin. 1 naked, bruised, and insane Starfleet member. Don’t ask what they’ve been eating…
8.        Barracks: Various bodies in perverted poses and dismemberment. No mission-critical equipment.
9.        Officer’s Quarters: throughout the ring. One holds Clue 2. No mission-critical equipment.
10.     Observation Deck: Peaceful, uncorrupted.
11.     Science Lab: Borg Scientist reading Necronomicon on Science Panel (this is what was uploaded to the Collective to start this whole thing). A discarded datapad holds Clue 1. Body parts melded with tentacles and bio-mechanical will turn into another Borgoth if the scientist isn’t killed in the first round of combat.
12.     Med-Bay: Borg conversion center. One victim almost ready.
13.     Borgified Runabout: Power core mysteriously drained. No working panels, equipment, etc.
14.     Engineering: Borg at Engineering Panel. Datapad holds Clue 2.
15.     Security Sub-Station: Security Panel, 3 Phasers.

Science Panel: Successful skill check finds the Anti-Virus after Clue 1 is found.
Engineering Panel: Successful skill check reduces hit points of location 2 Borgoth by half.
Security Panel: Succesful skill check after power is restored, gives number and location of opponents and allows the locking down of any particular room. Critical success activates invader countermeasures, stunning all Borg and Cyber-Vermin for 1d10 minutes.
Communications Panel: Successful skill check once power is restored at location 2, Clue 2 found, and Anti-Virus found, broadcasts the Anti-Virus throughout the Alpha quadrant.

The Borg: Fairly self-explanatory other than the fact they are physically corrupted even more than they already are, just add tentacle arms and boils and such to their description. Both the Commander and the Scientist are quite a bit tougher, feel free to have the Scientist throw some Lovecraftian spells once he animates his Borgoth. The Borg prefer to use the ‘Stun’ feature on their Phasers so as to add to their collection of play-things.

The Borgoths: Bio-mechanical Shoggoths.

Cyber-Vermin: A bio-mechanical cross between dogs and spiders. They shoot to kill, but use lasers which are a tad weaker than Phasers.

Clue 1: “Jeffries Tubes becoming dangerous as Borg virus spreads…”
…am making progress on Anti-Virus. Must read more of that book!”
“Patched into Borg systems. Found complete book. Spells converted to Hypergeometric equations!?!”
“Anti-Virus almost done. As long as they don’t find me first.”
“Anti-Virus is completed, but I am deleting it. I was such a fool. Gods do, indeed, exist. Biologic life is meaningless. I am turning myself in for assimilation. Yog-Sothoth is the Gate and the Key.”

Clue 2: “If that thing would only die, I’d be able to get the Security System back up and running. Not good enough an Engineer to work on a starship my ass! I’d even have enough power to broadcast Broderick’s Anti-Virus. That’s is if Mr. Science Officer can get his crap together.”

Note: I’m not claiming any ownership of these properties. This was purely a humorous exercise.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Deep Space 13 (2nd Grim Hack one-shot) play report finale.

Yog-Sothoth is the Gate and the Key, well, of the Engineering Deck anyway...

Deep Space 13 (2nd Grim Hack one-shot) play report finale.

Sorry about the lack of posts for a while, but real-life tends to intrude on our gaming excursions, so we were finally able to get together last night to complete this one-shot.

Bob-Security Officer
Dave-Medical Officer
Doug-Engineering Officer
John-Science Officer

Our intrepid team, fresh from their assault on the Bridge, now believed they needed to get more power to the Station so they could both power up the various control panels around Deep Space 13 and to spread the anti-virus through its systems. Brimming with confidence, they girded their loins for an elevator trip down to the engineering level.

Ready for anything, the team had their Phasers set on ‘char-broil’ as the elevator doors opened. What they weren’t prepared for was the quivering mass of sentient tentacles, wires, mouths, and pus-filled sacks the size of a human head that had wrapped itself around the power core. Despite having a layer of clear, nigh-impenetrable glass between them and it, both the Security Officer and the Engineering officer were shaken to their core y Fear, and refused to exit the elevator.

Discussing their options, the Science Officer and the Med Officer decided to cautiously check the surrounding rooms for anything that may help against the thing that was syphoning off all the power. John went to check the door to the left, Dave to the right. Dave got close enough for the automatic door to open where he caught a glimpse of some prisoners in cells and the edge of a couple of the bio-mechanical spider-dogs (with lasers!), when he quickly backed up to allow the door to close without alerting the vicious little enemies.

John, however, was not quite so lucky, and the Borg in the Engineering Lab became aware of him as soon the door open. After a quick exchange of weapons fire, the Borg was wounded, but the Science Officer lay on the deck, victim of a Phaser on stun.

Dave sprinted over and burst into the Engineering lab. After a second to assess the situation, he burned down the Borg. Having shaken off his fear at the sounds of Phaser fire, Bob grabbed his Phaser rifle and ran into the Brig, causing one of the Spider-Dogs to explode, damaging it’s fellow which returned fire burning a hole deep into the Security Officer’s arm.

Doug remained frozen in Fear.

Finishing off the still-moving, still-burning, Borg with a disintegrating flash, Dave sprinted over to the brig after hearing a scream for ‘Medic!’

Despite his wounds, Bob was able to finish off the last of his opponents. A short time later, he felt much better as the Medical Officer was able to tend his wounds.

Finally, both the Science Officer and the Engineering Officer shook off their various maladies, and the party went to free the prisoners. After a quick Med-scan and some first-aid, they were able to communicate with the three prisoners, one male, two female.

“They tortured us,” said one of the women. “Over and over again. Borg don’t do that. I don’t understand…”

“I didn’t think anyone was left that wasn’t assimilated in all of Starfleet,” said the male. “We were the last outpost that we knew of.”

Finding the Security Station on this level, the team armed the three freed prisoners. The Science Officer ‘critically’ delved into the Engineering Controls and figured out a way to cause a power feedback into the creature on the power core and maybe damage it. On his advice, he had the team don the white contamination coveralls just in case containment was breached.

With a stroke of Science wizardry, the lights went out and the team felt a screech and heard the words “YOG-SOTHOTH IS THE GATE AND THE KEY!” in their brains.

The thing then unwrapped its scorched and smoking tentacles from the core and started making it’s way out of the containment chamber.

The rest of the party and prisoners greeted it with a fusillade of Phaser fire. Shrugging off most of the damage, the creature attacked, leaving the male prisoner crawling on the deck, gasping to breathe. The Security Officer dropped his Phaser rifle as it malfunctioned and drew his hand Phaser. Rejoining the team, Join added his Phaser fire to it. Suddenly, the weakened monster exploded, heavily damaging the team and killing the male prisoner outright. As the Medical Officer tended their wounds, the power core began glowing brighter and brighter, and the hum of long sleeping systems rose louder and louder. Pops and sizzles soon followed as the bio-mechanical infection was slowly purged as the anti-virus spread.

Now that the Security Station’s consoles were powered up, the Security Officer was able to find and isolate the last Borg in the Science Lab on the main deck. Unfortunately, he was unable to bring up any of the more ‘drastic’ of the security options. What he was ale to find, was that the Science Lab was drawing an extreme amount of power.

Piling into the elevator, the team quickly checked their weapons, then sprinted towards the lab. As the door shwooshed open, the found a Borg frantically working on something. The la was filled with body parts, tentacles, and head-sized bags of pus, all melded together. Luckily, the team was able to put their opponent down before he could finish its nefarious work (animating another creature similar to what they just dealt with on the Engineering Deck.

After investigating Deep Space 13 thoroughly and talking with the survivors, they discovered that the station was recently infected in comparison to the rest of the Federation. Some of the records that the team found spoke of what the results of the anti-virus would likely be. The Borg virus would have merged deeply with the higher technologies first, so when the anti-virus strikes, all the wondrous technology that made the Federation would be destroyed. No more transporters, anti-gravity, faster-than-light communications, warp drives, and even computer systems would be all gone, effectively devolving civilization centuries into the past. The team had no idea how far the original virus had spread, the alpha quadrant assuredly, but what of their enemies in the deeper reaches of space? A functional starship could wreak havoc over multiple systems and worlds. But, in the end, there wasn’t really a choice.

 They broadcast the anti-virus out into what remained of the Federation.

After a couple adventures, I’ve made some changes to the Grim Hack rules that I will post shortly. Primarily related to crafting/knowledge/artistic skills. Basically, when a character learns one of these skills, not only can he use it, he gets a 10% onus on the attribute roll when using them.

Also, thinking of posting the map and the adventure for this one-shot. Let me know if anyone is interested in seeing it. It may give you an idea on how I go about making adventures.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Deep Space 13 play report, part one.

So, maybe uploading the Necronomicon into the Collective might not have been the greatest idea...

Bob-Security Officer
Dave-Medical Officer
Doug-Engineering Officer
John-Science Officer

After requisitioning extra supplies, the team headed off on the runabout for their rendezvous with Deep Space 13.

After coming out of warp, the team discovered the base to be shut down, only life support and minimal energy signatures detected. Failing their scanning attempt, the team was only able to discover there were lifeforms aboard the station but not their exact nature and location.

After docking they entered through the airlock, finding desiccated bodies of Starfleet members. Dave discovered they’d been exposed to vacuum, but not ejected out into space. As they walked further into the docking section they heard a calm, comforting voice say “Welcome to Deep Space 13. Please prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.”

The team immediately pulled out their Phasers, ensured they were set to “kill” and investigated a second runabout that was docked there. The interior was covered in Borg, and other strange dripping and seeping modifications. The warp core was dead, the power oddly ran dry. This is when Doug heard through his communicator, that the ship was being attacked by a virus. Running back to the ship, the screens were already flickering and odd symbols and mathematical formula was streaming across them. Bob immediately shot the communication node that Doug pointed out, successfully terminating contact with the station. As they left they heard the computer whisper “Yog-Sothoth is the key and the gate.”

They encountered a strange dog like creature heavily modified with mechanical spider legs and an energy weapon. After a couple of volleys of Phaser fire, complete disintegration of the creature was attained without damage to the party (other than their pride at having missed so thoroughly and consistently).

John used his tri-corder and discerned there were multiple small bogies towards the center of this main level of the station. Creeping around the corridors they assaulted the mess hall, but were met by three more of the strange puppy/spider Borgs. After a swift and brutal combat that saw the little creatures explode and shower each other with shrapnel, Dave the medic injected himself with desperately needed healing meds.

Inside the mess hall they also found their first survivor, badly beaten, burned, and possibly tortured in a deep catatonic state, mumbling something about keys and gates... They took the survivor back to the ship, strapped them down, and headed back into the station.

Finding the elevator, they had two options, Engineering Deck or the Bridge. Being the cautious and careful exemplars of Starfleet Academy, the piled into the Bridge, Phasers blazing as they encountered the Borg Commander and two of his assimilated buddies. Finally, surprise was with them, and after a couple of fusillades, the Commander and one of his compatriots were exploded messes, and the other a burning pyre of stinking refuse.

Finding the Communications station inoperable, they went to the other stations to learn what they could. Alas, the Borg corruption was too much for their meagre technical skills. The Engineering console was actually destroyed in their panicked attempts. Only a lone log entry was found at the science station. It seems the Science Officer for the station had written an anti-virus that could combat the insidious Borg machinations, but deleted it as he turned himself in to be assimilated, having discovered through his research that, indeed, Yog-Sothoth WAS the gate AND the key.

The entire party did what they could to find the deleted file, but they were stymied at every turn. Surprisingly, the Security officer looked over their shoulders and said, “Hey, why don’t you just look in the Deleted Folder?” (Bob was the only one to make his intelligence check). Shamed, John the blood-thirsty Science Officer was able to upload the virus into the system. After some time passed, they could see the anti-virus was working as tubes sprayed gore as they were expelled from the systems.

But, still, not enough power to do anything with the re-booted systems. So, next stop: Engineering.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grim Hack Expanded One-Shot #2: Deep Space 13

‘Thank you all for coming at such a short notice. But, as you are all aware, we’re a mere 13 months into our five year reconnaissance mission into the Gamma Quadrant, and we’ve already had our fair share of problems. After the attack by the Jem’Hadar which left us damaged but functional, we were unable to contact Starfleet for almost a hundred days.

‘No, that’s the problem. Despite the assistance we were given from our new “allies” and the complete refit of our communications system, we still have no contact with Starfleet.

‘Yes. Fully functional. All diagnostics show the new systems are working correctly. Still, no Starfleet.

‘I’m asking you all to undertake a mission to our closest station and report to Starfleet Command, giving them a thorough report on our activities and receive orders, if any. You’ll be using our warp capable runabout, so please return to us as soon as possible. We cannot afford to be without all of our assets for too long.

‘Quite right, lieutenant. Your destination is Deep Space 13.’    

Here is the background table and archetypes that will be available for this particular Sci-Fi genre for the new Grim Hack rules. Feel free to let me know if there's something you think should be added as another archetype, or key skill missing for this particular type of adventure world. Since in this particular idealistic society, no one needs to work, I’ve used pass-times, hobbies, and jobs people may do for leisure for backgrounds.

Note for players carrying over their characters from the first one-shot: Ignore this particular Background table, continuing with your previously rolled Background is fine. Wipe out all the skills and equipment from the previous Archetype and use the skills and equipment from the new ones. Any skills or trappings you believe your archetype should have, let me know.

History (any)
Art, Musicianship, or Sing
Auto Mechanic
Repair mechanisms
Public Speaking
Animal Handling
Additional language
Diverse interests

Roll twice, ignore any duplicates including this result.

New Bold-Going Sci-Fi Archetypes:

Common equipment: Starfleet uniform, Badge Communicator, Hand Phaser.

Suggested party make-up: one of each Archetype.

Starfleet Engineering Officer
Free Raise: Dexterity, Cunning, or Intelligence.
Skills: Consume Alcohol, Engineering, Knowledge – Starfleet Technology, Pilot-Runabout, Repair, Specialty weapon – Phasers.
Equipment: Engineering belt kit, including scanner and tools.

Starfleet Medical Officer
Free Raise: Intelligence, Will Power, or Fellowship.
Skills: Chemistry, Heal Wounds, Knowledge – Starfleet Technology, Specialty weapon – Phasers, Surgery.
Equipment: Medical belt kit including scanner and full multi-injector with 5 administrations (Cure Disease, Cure Poison, or Heal).

Starfleet Science Officer
Free Raise: Cunning, Intelligence, or Will Power.
Skills: Astronomy, Knowledge – Starfleet Technology, Security Systems, Specialty weapon – Phasers, Super Numerate.
Equipment: Tricorder

Starfleet Security Officer
Free Raise: Ranged Skill, Strength, or Agility.
Skills: Disarm, Dodge Blow, Knowledge – Starfleet Technology, Specialty weapon – Phasers, Street Fighter.
Equipment: Phaser Rifle, Security Handcuffs

Weapons in brief:
Hand Phaser             S5              RoF: 1         Rounds 10                  Range: Short              
Phaser Rifle              S5              RoF: 1d3     Rounds 30                  Range: Long

Special for Phasers: May set to Stun (On successful hit, target must make successful Toughness test or be stunned for d6 rounds).  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Weird War II 1947 one-shot play report.

Weird War II One-shot play report.

The Players: 
Ian (Dave)-Commando
Hunter (John)-Intelligence Officer
Anatoly (Dale)-Intelligence Officer

Play started with the team in the forward torpedo room readying their gear for the mission. Once they were ready, the Nautilus triggered her anti-Deep One sonic weapon and the boys shot out into the freezing seas of the Antarctic. Spying 3 stunned Deep Ones with spear guns on lanyards, the boys dared taking the time to dispatch them with their combat knives and grab up the spear-guns despite the danger of remaining in the cold water.

Coming up into the submarine pen, they remained under water and Ian planted explosives on the submarine and the fuel reservoir to go off in two hours. Surfacing under the support structure for the fuel tank they snuck under a gangway and peeled off their wetsuits and got into their gear. Unfortunately for Ian, he failed his Toughness check and succumbed to the cold, hampering all his physical abilities until he was able to get warm. Despite this impediment, he and the rest of the team snuck deeper into the cavern and hid amongst the crates taking time to warm Ian up. The guard and his resuscitated casualty partner in the watch tower were oblivious to pretty much everything.

Once Ian was more functional, the team snuck up to the door of the dock office and whipped the door open, unleashing a fusillade of silenced round at the supply sergeant, pretty hitting everything except their target except one stray bullet from Ian. Once initiative order began, Ian with the upper hand missed completely, and the sergeant making his WP check, grabbed the phone and called in an alert just before Anatoly blew off the man’s leg. Hunter immediately grabbed the phone and critically failed his try to make the alert sound like a joke, but ended up sounding like Han Solo instead. Anatoly rigged a grenade to a C4 charge and tied it to the door and the team safely made it to their hiding place under the fuel tanks structure, quietly putting their wetsuits back on.

An officer with a cadre of resuscitated casualties came to investigate only to be blown into a state where resuscitation would be impossible. Moments later the sub crew ran by and started piling into their vessel. Ian slid back into the water with Anatoly to change the time of the C4 charges planted on the sub and the fuel to 15 minutes, while Hunter, sensing the coast was clear, ran off to get Intel to help the Allies in the war.

Ian and Anatoly were safely in the tunnel as the sub began moving away from the dock, and they were able to witness both the explosions and the horror of the sub crew as they abandoned ship only to freeze and die almost immediately from the freezing water. Once their bit of handiwork resolved, they hid behind the last remaining dock and opened fire on the guard in the watchtower, with Ian dumping his entire 3 round burst into the guard, ripping him apart. The team quickly took control of the watchtower and it’s MG42.

Meanwhile, Hunter delved deeper into the base finding another cavern with multiple exits and a Walker-Mech who’s driver was desperately trying to start. One grenade into the cockpit, and Hunter was checking the different exits. Seeing one with occult symbols on it, he followed the tunnel to a warm room with the Wizard preparing some sort of maniacal chicanery. A quick surprise check, and Hunter had his silenced.45 to the man’s temple. After the merest of introductions, he asked where the
Next door went to. The wizard replied that it was the Power Plant earning himself an immediate bullet in his brain.

Going through the next door and following the passage down, Hunter found a large machine with a ramp that led up into a yawning hopper on top of it. Off to the side he heard weak crying from a cell full of emaciated and dying prisoners. Hunter, knowing he was out of time and had no way to extricate them form the base, he set the charge on the Power Plant for 15 minutes. As he left, he heard a prisoner both laugh and cry and say ”Yes, release the Shoggoth.”

Making sure he grabbed a couple of ‘interesting’ looking tomes in the Wizards room, he hied on out of there. On the way back through the hub of the base, he heard arguing behind a door which he opened and threw a grenade into. Unsure if one was enough, he pulled the pin on a second grenade, but after opening the door saw only corpses. Trying to jam the grenade into the door as a trap and sprinting away, he failed his Dex check and he heard the grenade go off, but not close enough to damage him.

Reunited in the sub-pen, the team quickly departed and swan furiously back to the sub. The base destroyed crippling the Axis’ new fuel dependent War Machine, the Allies would suddenly regain some advantage in the war. However, with the forbidden knowledge contained in the books acquired, the Allies quickly gained the upper hand, ending the war and establishing the United States as the new dominate power in the world…

…but at what cost?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Zweihander now on Kickstarter!

Been watching these guys work on this project for a long time. Zweihander is an updated version of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. The rules are fun and ingenious, the artwork gorgeous. If you don't believe me, check it out. Definitely worth your time even if you're not a regular WFRP player (you just may become one). Trust me, it's Grim and Perilous as hell!