Friday, December 19, 2008

Enemies and Lovers, both hurt.

I’m glad Kain didn’t ask any questions about where I was going. His discretion is one of the only things that make him bearable at times.

Well I guess that’s unfair but I don’t feel like being fair: some Barnaby-dung eating fool shot me today.

I just don’t get it! We came into this oasis tower unannounced, we found a quiet card game to pass time and wouldn’t you know it, someone calls us out by name and threatens us. It’s just getting real old! I wish they were more original, actually I wish I was less sloppy but maybe we could make a pact to be both:

‘To all polar intelligence agencies, would-bea ssassins, corporate spies and Keff sympathizers: please collectively endeavour not to piss me off with your threats, and I will promise for my part to try and make it as hard as possible to give you the opportunity.’

There, that should work: a silent promise to the sands. The problem is I keep messing up, making mistakes faster than I can learn from them. Apropos, I'm in the bazaar staking out that hotel, I don’t think I'm in much danger of being found; hiding my face with my scarf, wearing desert clothing and sipping root tea like half a dozen other quiet patrons in this stall. She doesn’t see me or she makes a convincing act of ignoring me when she emerges with her small companion. She does look around quickly. I guess nothing looks out of the ordinary because she moves on.

She showed up out of the desert blue today, at the exact same time as that anonymous and now-deceased assailant. Coincidence? I don’t know, it does seem a little too convenient. Am I being cautious or paranoid? Too damned much time with Kain, or too much time in the mid-day sun, same difference.

I drop a coin for the tea and move to follow them. I keep a good distance, I can see her clearly enough, I feel I could find her with my eyes shut. Great, now I’m getting romantic, am I tracking this woman because I’m suspicious or am I stalking her because I’m desperate?

Too many questions with ambiguous answers. I am traveling through a universe of gray where no clean lines exist. She has doubled back, is she lost or checking for a tail? I duck into an open door and make it up to the roof in under 30 seconds. I pull out my scope and pick her up almost immediately.

When we spoke a few hours ago I was un-composed. I was still angry. I asked her to partner-up on the Duelist Casino deal while belying my apprehensions, making it clear I didn’t trust her and yet...

I’m back on street level, she almost gave me the slip a block back, she’s good. That's hardly surprising. She’ll be an invaluable asset. I change my cloak over, rearranged my scarf into a turban and put on goggles, just a Badlander mixed-in with the others.

I trust her, I always have though I don’t want her to know that just yet, she might see that my fears are personal rather than professional. I walked out on her, I walked out on her and her daughter for this mission and I am all torn up inside. I miss her but we can’t be together, not right now and maybe not ever, I’m afraid I’ll lose her so I may as well just keep her at arms length. Wait, am I commenting on how I'm tracking her or how I’m involved with her?

Julie and Lita eventually made their way to a Longrunner and they rolled out of Kolmar Station without incident. I did my due diligence, the local water feeder said they had all come in together that same morning. He remembered Julie, how could he not? The fuel log I hacked on a nearby station pump confirmed the story.

I never really doubted her. I don’t have enough doubt to go around. I barely have enough to keep up with my own insecurities. I guess that makes me a trusting person. Trusting people get shot. Now I just sound like Sam.

Now that she’s gone I hope I’ll be able to concentrate. There’s work to be done. Someone is looking for us and I want to find them first so I can take out a healthy mix of misplaced and justified aggression on them. Introspection sucks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weapons and Equipment Guide - Revised 2

As most of you know now, work has begun on a consolidated Weapons and Equipment guide. With my recent purchase of 3G3, we can reverese engineer all of the weapons from the DP9 Equipment Guide, as well as assorted other sources.

I've asked some of you to help me prepare text for transfer to the new Big Guns Book.

Last night, Josh, Matt, and I kicked around a few ideas. We want to shake up the axis of individual weapons characteristics by the use of perks/flaws (like the rest of the game). To this end, we brainstormed a few different characteristics, and I have included what I remember below, as well as a few new ones. Please append your ideas as comments...I will update the main post as we go.

I don't think there will be a hard "cost" associated with these characteristics. We will have to eyeball it! :)

Rounds fired are more stable at long range. Reduce the penalties for long and extreme range by 1.

May be fired with either hand

Ammo Hungry:
Burst fire consumes twice the usual amount of ammo.

Either the Small Arms or Heavy Weapons skill may be used to fire this weapon.

The proportions/layout of this weapon make it difficult to manage, especially when time is of the essence. Drop 1 dice on combat sense rolls when this weapon is equipped.

This weapons vents high temperature gasses (and potentially flames) to the rear, discouraging firing from indoors or enclosed vehicles.

Battle Rifle:
This weapon is designed for the rigours of close and brutal combat. May be used as a melee weapon (club: 5+AD) with no risk of damage.

Bayonet Lug:
A bayonet may be fitted to this weapon, allowing (AD+damage) Melee attacks to be made. Shooting attacks at ranges over Point blank are at -1.

Beaten Area:
This weapon lays down a prodigious amount of fire. When suppressed by this weapon, targets suffer a -1 penalty to their actions.

Belt fed:
This rapid-fire weapon is fed by a belt of ammunition. Feeding and operating the weapon alone is difficult. Attacks are at -1 die when operating without a loader (unless pintle mounted).

This weapon is designed to be quickly disassembled and reassembled. A successful Small Arms roll allows assembly or disassembly in 1 round. (Anyone caught making "No Disassemble!" jokes will be drawn and quartered)

Burst only
This weapon has no single fire mode.

Catastrophic Misfire:
Botches when firing this weapon provoke a catastrophic reaction; the shell cooks off in the chamber, the receiver ejects the clip, or something similar. GMs should be imaginative.

Special care has been taken to make this weapon harder to detect when tucked away. +1 to either Camouflage or Sleight of Hand to conceal this weapon.

Difficult to Modify: This weapon is a high-quality, overengineered piece of... equipment. Parts are difficult to come by, tolerances are very tight, and moving parts are difficult to make sense of or access at all. Just cleaning this weapon requires a PhD. All rolls to repair or modify the weapon are at -2.

Easy to Modify: This weapon was designed with the maintenance needs of the combat soldier and field technician in mind. It is easy to make modifications with nearly any available part, easy to maintain and all rolls to repair or modify this weapon are made at +2.

This weapon is not meant to be used more than a few times, according to the rating. Reduce the Rating each time the weapon is used. Negative Ratings apply to attack rolls.

Prone to damage from impacts, dropping, explosions. This weapon will not function after being used as a melee weapon.

A STR equivalent to the rating is necessary to operate this weapon without penalty. Apply a penalty of the Heavy rating minus the user's STR to all physical skills (including Dodge, and the skill governing firing this weapon).

Heavy Recoil:
The weapon bucks like a mule, making subsequent shots less accurate. Taking more than one shot in a round incurs an additional -1 penalty on the second, -2 on the third and so on.

Hostile Environment Protection: This weapon is designed to be used and abused in the environment listed (terrain type). HEP: Jungle weapons can be exposed to humidity and water, HEP: Desert weapons are reliable in sandstorms, HEP: Cold weapons don't freeze up. A weapon lacking this perk can be used in a hostile environment, but not without great care, intense maintenance or the risk of major malfunction.

Some flaw in the barrel design or inherent limitation makes long range shooting more difficult. Increase the penalties at long and extreme range by 1.

Jam Prone:
Sustained fire radically increases the probability of a jam. Botches occur on any pair of ones, rather than a roll of all ones.

Large Signature, AKA: Loud and Proud:
This is the kind of gun that draws unwanted attention when fired. It's either inordinately loud, has a large, noticeable muzzle flash, generates lots of smoke, dust, heat, or any combination of factors that provide for +2 to Notice checks for those trying to locate the shooter at Short and Medium ranges, and +1 to Notice checks at Long and Extreme ranges.

Made in Timmins:
This weapon was either assembled by retarded blind chimpanzees or made by the lowest bidder--in Timmins. Either way, a botch renders the weapon inoperable. A full stripping and reconditiong of the weapon will restore it to operational status...maybe. (In non-Heavy Gear games, this is called 'Problem Prone')

Magazine Capacity (Low):
Less than standard.

Magazine Capacity (High):
More than standard.

Modular System:
Using a combination of parts, this weapon can be converted to a weapon of a similar type, i.e., pistols could fire different ammo, rifles could be converted down to carbines or up to LMGs, etc.

This weapon requires a tripod or pintle mount to operate.

No Sight Rail:
This weapon cannot mount any sighting devices.

Quick Change Barrel
Only a real consideration in protracted firefights, this MG can have its barrel swapped out (to compensate for overheating) as a single action by a trained loader on his action, allowing near continuous fire for prolonged periods. A single user must cease fire for one round to perofrm this operation.

Rifle Grenadier:
This weapon will accept rifle grenades.

Slow fire:
May only fire once per turn. (Bolt action rifles have this trait)

Slow Reload:
Requires 2 actions to reload, rather than one.

This rifle is designed for precision shooting. When used with the Marksmanship skill, the weapon receives a +1 bonus to called shots.

This weapon features a built-in, purpose made sound suppression system. Alternatively, this weapon is designed with special operations/suppression in mind, and can be fitted with a specially made suppressor which acts as though it was integral to the weapon. Either way, double the number of rounds that may be fired before suppression is negated.

No Underbarrel Mount:
No auxiliary grenade launcher or other large underbarrel device may be attached.

Unsafe Trigger
This weapon,either due to a poor safety or a hair trigger, is prone to fire at inopportune times, like while inside a bouncing armored vehicle or during a tense stand-off.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

As close to Tarantino as I want to get.

TN1919 Autumn:

FADE IN: A well lit office interior. There are people milling about, doing whatever office workers do on a daily basis. This office, however, is the provisional city hall of New Baja, buried deep underground in a submerged MacAllen cave. There is no ambient light, and there is an oppressive feeling in the air. There are secretaries sitting at a central desk/counter area, wearing headsets and working at computer terminals. A security guard in grey coveralls and a pistol at his belt stands lazily nearby. The entirety of New Baja has been put on full alert and lockdown, but he doesn't expect any problems here.

CUT TO: An elevator door. There's a sense of impending crisis. The elevator stops with a soft ring tone, and the doors open slowly. Two determined faces greet us: the Gunfighter, and the Doctor. They quickly step out of the elevator car and into the hubub of the city hall office, doing their best to cut through the foot traffic whilst blending in to the best of their abilities. In the elevator, a grey coverall-wearing guard is slumped in the corner, blood trickling down his nose.

CUT TO: The Doctor's fist, sporting slightly bloodied brass knuckles. From just under his knuckles, you can see a couple of people reacting to the sight of the guard in the elevator. Or maybe they recognize the Doctor and the Gunslinger. They're not new to Baja, after all. The security guard hasn't clued in.

CUT TO: The Gunslinger and the Doctor approaching the central desk/counter. They give the receptionist a withering look.

The Doctor: Excuse me, which way to Mayor Dunn's office?

Receptionist (A little stunned): Er...may I ask who is...

The Doctor (only slightly annoyed): Doctor Chambers, of the New Baja Development Company.

Receptionist (relieved): Oh, yes, down the hall, make a left, all the way to the end. Who is this? (He has noticed the Gunslinger, who, as always, is not operating as though he's completely present and accounted for)

The Doctor (feigning ennui): My bodyguard.

The pair walk off quickly as a cry comes out from near the elevator. The security guard does his job and jogs over to the car, just as the Doctor and the Gunslinger round the corner and quicken their pace. They get down to the end of the hallway. There is a solid-looking door with a simple plaque attached to it at about eye level: MAYOR L. DUNN. The pair take a breath and then open the door.

CUT TO: The office of New Baja mayor Lloyd Dunn. There are three people in this spartan, utilitarian office with a thick glass window on one side (no real view, as it's too dark in the MacAllen cave). In the center of the room is a large conference desk. There is a trideo projector in the middle of the desk, currently shut off, and a couple of chairs for guests of the mayor in front of it. The ceiling is roughly 2.2m tall, and the concrete walls are thick, as is the floor. At the desk sits Lloyd Dunn, a tired-looking, greying man whose face reflects the plight of all of New Baja: compromises to maintain as much independence as possible. No one understands Dunn anymore, a hero of the anti-CEF resistance during the occupation of Baja. He still believes in doing the best for New Baja's citizens, but he has comprimised himself into a corner: the SRID have their hooks in him, the MILICIA do their best to control the city, and while he and the rest of the New Bajans have retreated into their underwater, underground refuge, Dunn knows that it's only a matter of time before New Baja must capitulate. He's desperate, he's cornered, and two of his old nemeses, The Doctor and The Gunslinger, have just walked into the room. Dunn is flanked by two bodyguards. They've just been warned of the pair's arrival.

Dunn (unreadable): Gentleman, what can I do for you.

The Doctor (equally unreadable. The Gunslinger has his eye on the two bodyguards, his hands ready to go for his guns. The two bodyguards are nervous. They're competent, but the Gunslinger's reputation has preceded him): Lloyd. Good to see you. I have something for you. I'm willing to trade it in order to get me and my associates out of New Baja.

Dunn: You have something for me?

The Doctor (removing a datadisk from his duster, places it on the desk and pushes it towards Dunn with a single finger): Plans for a next-generation submarine gear.

Dunn: Is that so? And why would you think I'd help you, Doctor?

The Doctor: Because if we make your life easier, then you can make our lives easier.

Dunn (unreadable, pauses. Then after a moment, he grins): Well Doctor, it's about to get a whole lot easier for you.

CUT TO: The door to the office opens. Four guards in grey coveralls armed with meaty submachineguns are about to pour in.

CUT TO: The Gunslinger's gone for his twin 11mm magnum revolvers.

CUT TO: The Doctor has gone for his heavy pistol.

CUT TO: The two bodyguards have gone for their pistols.

CUT TO: Dunn has gone for his pistol.

The ensuing firefight is brutal, short and chaotic. The Doctor's loud pistol fires, and one of the new arrivals spins towards the corner, shot through the shoulder. The Gunslinger's pistols fire, and one of the bodyguards falls backwards, dead, blood spattering the wall behind him. The other bullet grazes Lloyd Dunn's shoulder. The other bodyguard puts a few rounds into the Gunslinger, but his duster and his flak suit prevent major injury. He remains standing. Dunn fires as he recovers from the attack. The bodyguards rush the room, and open fire with submachineguns at close range. Fortunately, the action is too close, the noise and the flashes too blinding, for any accurate fire. One of the guards begins wrestling with the Gunslinger. The other two take positions in the corners of the room, unsure as to how to proceed. The Doctor rounds the table and is about to shoot Lloyd Dunn when one of the bodyguards sprays the corner down with fire. The Doctor slumps to the ground, badly wounded. Dunn has been hit too, and his shot accidentally hits the bodyguard who just shot him, rather than the Doctor. Meanwhile, the Gunslinger struggles against the guard, and finally breaks free of his grapple. The Doctor and Dunn fumble for their pistols, struggling and grappling, slipping in blood, both wheezing and wincing from their wounds. The Doctor is out of bullets: the heavy pistol does not have a large magazine. Lloyd smirks, aims, and then is shot by the Gunslinger, whose revolvers deal out hot lead death. The remaining guards go down in a flurry of gunfire. The Gunslinger fires at Dunn's sprawled body. Then he walks over to the Doctor, who is barely conscious, and failing to staunch the blood pouring from his body. The Gunslinger helps the Doctor up and they make their way out of the office, leaving a haze of smoke, blood and a ringing echo of gunfire left in the room...

30 Autumn, TN1919

Dear Sir,

We have received your manuscript, and we must reject it. Not only is some of the content (allegations of SRID involvement in New Baja indeed!) verging on the seditious, but we here at Republican Films also strive for realistic depictions of violence in all our work. You might be better served sending this manuscript to a particularly wealthy and bloodthirsty nobleman in the Eastern Sun Emirates.

Good day,

J. Y. Jungers
Submissions editor-in-chief
Republican Films.

Somewhere else:

"I found the tape. It looks like it's been hacked already."

"That's fine. Who's on it?"

"The businessman and the gunhand."


"No, but he can't be too far. At least he's back on our radar."

"He's in New Baja. He's still off our radar."

"Yeah, but he and his crew will have to come up for air eventually. Keep your eyes open. We need to know how he found out about Mishka."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Game Thug's Bookshelf - Update

Want List

Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.