Monday, June 28, 2010

GameThug's Bookshelf - Update 2

Recent acquisitions are italicized.

Tactical Packs
Want List

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Sacrifice

From the Chronicles of House of Bhravo:

This story was told by Esmerald Nunan, 87, of Okavango, after the assassination of the Pretender, Emir Alexius Thoras, in TN1935.

Ingar Nunan was old, nearly 108 cycles, but he had seen the inside of the Emirate Palace of Okavango more than any other sajhalin alive. He sat cross-legged in his little hovel in the slums of the floating city, and smiled. He had been a loyal servant to the Bhravos, and was much loved as Raphael's first butler, and his father's before that. When Emir Thoras seized power, most of the sajhalin servants of the palace were put to death as a precaution. Old and toothless, Nunan was deemed so harmless that when the Emir discovered that the old servant was missing, he magnanimously let him live, but always kept an eye on him.

Ingar smiled at the floor mat. He knew the day would come when the Emir's mercy would run out. He didn't even look up when the security men entered his home, such as it was.

"Ingar Nunan?" a stern woman's voice barked.

"Yes, ma'am," Ingar's voice was fragile.

"I am His Excellency the Emir's havildar for security, Joneen Muhammad. Look at me," she commanded.

Ingar looked up into the face of the havildar, a ceremonial rank for a solicitor who served in the senior ranks of the emir's retinue. She was young--well, she seemed young to Ingar, who long ago lost the nuance between old and ancient--and stern looking, with a pistol at her hip, and a wicked looking dagger on her thigh. She had those fancy polarized-lens sunglasses, which were dark enough that Ingar couldn't make out her eyes. Which was probably the intent.

"Yes ma'am, I am Ingar Nunan," he said simply, "former servant to the Bhravo household."

"Nunan, I am very busy. Tell me what I need to know, so that I might leave this..." she looked around, dismayed, "household."

Ingar nodded, eyes half-closed.

"How many tunnels are there under the Emirate palace?" Muhammad asked.

Ingar nodded, smiling, "only one," he lied, "most were sealed when Emir Bhravo's father became Emir, and the Emirate palace's basement was set up as a bunker. The tunnels were very dangerous, and infested with all sorts of swamp creatures. They were deemed unsanitary, and filled in."

"One. You are sure."

"Yes ma'am," Ingar smiled tiredly, "just one. Was it used during the attempt on the Pretender's life last season?"

Muhammad scowled, "the Emir does not believe you, and neither do I. Take him!" she barked to her subordinates, who came forward, grabbed old Ingar Nunan, and took him away. His daughter Esmerald was taken as well.

Ingar Nunan never divulged the truth, and the secrets of the tunnels died with him in the dungeon of the Emirate Palace of Okavango.

Something in the air.

Prangap sat in the little safehouse, and waited for everyone to leave. He'd be there a little longer still, making sure that everyone got out alright, without any tails. He smirked, thinking about that mercenary Basal had sent.

They're all alike. So arrogant. Coming here, thinking they know what's what, and then they blame us "armchair revolutionaries" when their plans go to hell. I'm a mechanic, not an assassin, it's not my job to infiltrate the palace. It's my job to make sure that the city revolts once the emir's dead.

He made a mental list. Once the emir's death was confirmed, all the resistance cells would get their coded signal, the arms caches would be tapped, and then the dirty job of fighting in the canals and streets of Okavango would fall to him, and his fellow "armchair revolutionaries." The sajhalin would rise up, and offer the city to its rightful heir: Emir Raphael Bhravo.

Prangap slowly locked the door behind him, and made his way quickly to the dock, where his jet-ski was waiting. There was no sound: Prangap was very quiet, and the creaking and groaning of the pontoons helped him mask his slipper-clad feet as he slipped down to the little jet ski. The entire city was blanketed by a heavy mist, the jungle's stench particularly heavy. It had stopped raining for a few hours. Prangap knew it would start again momentarily. He eased the half-submerged jet-ski under the dock and listened for any tails.

Nothing. But just to be sure, let's take the long way.

Prangap looked behind him, at a maze of stilts and pontoons, and turned the jet-ski until it faced the obstacle course. He eased the throttle open gently, and disappeared under the city. He had a lot of work to do, for an armchair revolutionary.


"Report," the voice at the other end of the secure sat-link line was terse.

"Nothing thus far, sir."

"Excuse me? You're just not looking hard enough!"

"Sir, my team is watching for any moves on the Emir. We have secured the subterranean access, and we've worked with the palace guard, and tightened up security. No one's getting in like the last time."

"And there's been no activity?"

"None we've detected sir. There was a meeting, but we haven't had any report in from the field."

"You are 'the field.' Do your job. Report back in thirty-six hours."

"Yes sir."

The sat-link went dead.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hopes and dreams

When Maia entered the rat-trap apartment she, Sam, and Kain were holed up in, the big ex-soldier was cleaning the oversized pistol he favoured.  Though she was quick to hide it, a brief flash of disgust rippled across her features.  She went into the bedroom, there was some rustling, and then she was gone as quickly as she had come.  There was no eye contact.

Kain knew that look.  He'd seen it many times before, though Maia was better than most at concealing it.  He gave a mental shrug as he passed the brush down the Raptor's barrel.  There were bigger problems than Maia's sense of moral superiority.

First, there was the mole.  Kain didn't suspect that there was a mole; he wasn't pretty sure there was a mole; he knew there was a mole.  That in and of itself wasn't a problem.  There was always a mole in these bands of armchair revolutionaries.  They were too easy to buy, too comfortable with their own lives, too removed from the plight of their poorer brethren.  The problem was that he didn't know which one of them it was.  The traitor had been in the group he met that first night; of that there could be no doubt.  And, clearly, killing the entire group was not an option.  It would gut the revolution, such as it was (imagine Maia's face then!), and besides--it would take more time to execute than Kain could spare.  Sam would expedite the killing part, but the finding part was always the more tedious....

He examined the recoil spring for signs of lateral torsion.  He'd noticed a slight pull to the the left he swore hadn't been there a month ago.

The first problem led directly to the the second.  None of the intel could be trusted, so operational security was a complete write-off.  And, damnably, the tunnels were gold.  No, they were magic.  Literal, special ops, ninja-assassin magic.  The stuff of which Legion Noire wet dreams were made.  A backdoor to the Emir's bedroom--an unlocked backdoor.  Admittedly, said door was only accessible after a SCUBA dive, a nightmarish crawl through pitch-black tunnels filled with unknown and presumably poisonous critters, and...well...Prophet knew what else, but an unlocked backdoor nonetheless.  And now there was a very good chance that the tunnel could not be used--

Frowning slightly, Kain gently filed a burr on the extractor.

--producing the third problem.  After the tunnel, the next-best option for entry was a HALO jump from a stealth aircraft.  And Kain didn't have access to a stealth aircraft.  Or a parachute, for that matter, though he remembered hearing about a way to improvise a paraglider from a saccaru leaf....

Reassembly was quick.  Kain had practiced it until he could do it blindfolded.  One handed was going to be tricky, but he thought he'd get it down in the next week.

Not for the first time, Kain wished Gade were there.  That boy had a rare talent for improbably workable ideas.  And for the obviously insane.  Reflecting back on some of the least believable situations Gade had scraped out of brought a grin to his face.  Kain really wished Gade were there.

And Ben.  And Jo.  And Peter.  And Teg.

He clenched his teeth as he slid the magazine home.  If they were dead....

If his friends were dead, Kain Delacroix would write a new chapter in the history of Okavango with the blood of those responsible.

Monday, June 21, 2010

17 June 2010 - 72 hours with psychopaths

COMMAND: New Entry

They're insane. Completely, totally insane.

One minute, we're on the causeway, which is *just* calm enough that I can pretend we're over one of the Terraces back home and maybe get some sleep, and then the next minute there's an explosion and the truck's careening towards the edge. Sam's firing at something off to the right, but I can't acquire a target. I don't turn away for more than three seconds, and somehow in that time the driver takes a hit and goes down.

And then, as fast as that, it's all over. There wasn't any terrorist attack. It was all them, feigning our own abduction. And for what? So we can "do some covert work" off the grid? So they can get more money from Paxton for our "ransom"? Did they even think they they're blowing up military property, injuring an innocent bystander, and putting all our lives in jeopardy? God's tears! How mad do you have to be to even come up with this insanity?

And as if that weren't bad enough, we have to travel the rest of the way through the swamp. Because that's *just* what I need right now.




COMMAND: New Entry

Okavango smells like something died in the swamp. Something probably did. A lot of somethings probably did. Tom and I made it in without too much attention, and the raft that we floated in on obliged us by sinking thirty seconds later, thus hiding our means of entry. Thanks be to God that it was thirty seconds after, and not thirty seconds before. How people willingly surround themselves by water -- stinking, unclean swamp water -- at all hours of the day and don't go mad, I'll never understand.

The Emir's forces here are brutal. I have no idea what things were like in Basal before... well, before everything... but I hope it wasn't like this. Tom and I walked right past a trio of guards on some racketeering spree. It reminds me of the days back before the war. I never spent much time in the Prospects, but I had friends there, and they'd tell me stories that sounded just like this. At least in Peace River, people fought back. If you can't trust the authorities, you've gotta make do for yourself. But here, the sajhalin don't even do that, they just take it. It shouldn't be allowed.

Listen to me, ranting like a radical. We're here to do a job and get out, and step one is getting some new identity, given that "Maia Kessler" is apparently off-limits while we're still "ransomed" by the Emirate Liberation Front. Tom says he's got an idea, and it's not like I've got too many options right now.




COMMAND: New Entry

Bread riots. Okavango's having bread riots. Why haven't we heard about this before?

I missed the riots back home after the war. I was stuck in a hospital bed, pacing the hall on a leg and a crutch, watching the riots on trideo. But it looked a lot like what I saw today. Damn.

These people are starving. You can see it in their eyes, the way their faces are sunk in. There were children in that crowd. There was a girl -- couldn't have been older than six -- who got trampled underfoot when the crowd swarmed the guards. Yes, there are children starving in Basal, too, but at least they've got people like Brother Herbertson to go to. People who look out for little children with nothing to eat. Here... whatever twisted sense of justice these people adhere to, taking care of starving children doesn't seem to be part of it.

I've got trideo of the riot. Not that it'll do much good. Too far away for anyone to care, and even if anyone did, it's not like they can do anything substantive.

I can't sleep, and all I can see is a little girl getting trampled. I never thought I'd wish to be back in Basal.




COMMAND: New Entry

We've met our contact, and (unfortunately) reconvened with Delacroix and his gunslinger. I thought his impulsiveness was unchecked before. How little I knew. For reasons known only to himself, he's assured the local resistance that we'll just waltz in and assassinate the Emir. Because if we're already on the MILICIA's shit list for blowing up their van and shooting their driving, why not go for the big leagues?

I was impressed that there's actually a resistance movement here at all, given the MILICIA and SRIF presence, not to mention the brutality of the Emir's forces. Delacroix, on the other hand, decided this was a prime moment to give them a lecture on how to fight the war they've already been fighting. Arrogance and insanity, all in one conveniently tied-up package.

Maybe I'm just sleep deprived. Maybe his grand master plan will reveal itself to me after a few hours of shut-eye. Or maybe he's just bat-shit crazy.




COMMAND: New Entry

The people here want Bhravo. No one will say it too loudly, not with Thoras' men in every shadow, but you can tell. If Thoras goes down, Bhravo can come back. Who knows? Maybe he'll actually get his troops in line and arrange for adequate food supplies. Maybe Delacroix actually saw further than I thought. Maybe he's actually a hero, deep down underneath it all, ready to risk his neck for the good of the common man. I didn't think he had it in him. Maybe I underestimated him.



COMMAND: New Entry

Back-stabbing psychopaths! I was wrong. I didn't underestimate him at all. And if that wasn't bad enough, I'm coming to rapidly revise my new image of Chambers as some sort of decent human being. I can't believe that after taking all of the resistance's information, intel that no doubt people have bled and died for, they're just going to go hand it over to the Emir! What in the nine hells are they thinking? Do they care about nothing?

No, they care about their friends. And apparently only their friends. To hell with anyone else who burns, so long as their friends escape. To hell with their informants, their associates, and even me. Who cares if mothers, fathers, and children die in the aftermath, so long as the people they personally care about are all right.

No. To hell with that.

They took the information on the Emir, and they're damned well going to do something useful with it, so help me God.


COMMAND: Purge memory.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Flat, nearly all of Raleigh is flat.

Gade sat on the rooftop of an office building, watching the warehouse from across the empty lot, looking for any sort of cover. "There really is nothing," he muttered to himself. The warehouse was surrounded by squat strip malls and empty lots. There was even a soccer pitch-sized animal pen, filled with bleating sheep. But no cover.

I suppose a distraction could work... but what?

Emir Shirow had told him that it wouldn't be easy: the shipment in the warehouse was enormous and moving it would draw attention. But the supplies could make all the difference in the end. Gade didn't really have that much confidence in the revolutionaries who comprised his team. They were highly motivated, but motivation only takes you so far before skill becomes a factor. And this job would require more skill than motivation. Gade also doubted that they'd be so ramped up if they knew that half the trucks in the caravan were to be filled with explosives, and had already been rigged with makeshift detonators. He kept that little gem to himself though.

Well I suppose it's about time I get the caravan ready.


The bullets were flying everywhere, and Gade winced as chips of ferrocrete flew into his face.

Well, that got their attention.

He grimaced. The cover fire Gade put down should have let team 2 get out of the building, had more SRID agents not been waiting outside for them. They were trapped. With his squad automatic weapon, Gade could support the others on his own, but his firepower meant that the SRID agents were going after him. The SRID had came out of nowhere, and most of his men were dispersed, or worse. He knew that he wasn't going to be getting the shipment out. The whole thing had to have been a trap, sprung inside a jumbled warehouse crawling with SRID men.

Clearly it is time for drastic action...

Pulling out a pack of remotes, Gade considered which of the caravan trucks was least likely to have anyone on board. It was hard to tell, but peeking up over the ferrocrete berm he was using as cover gave him a good assessment.

He just hoped that he was right and that there wasn't anything too valuable in the truck he was about to blow. He ducked back down behind the berm as a shot bounced off its rounded top, sending ferrocrete flying. With one click of the remote he could hear truck four detonate. Ears ringing, Gade hoped again that he blew up the truck carrying the ration bars, and not the one carrying the anti-gear mines. At least it would attract the attention of the Humanist Alliance protectors. That was the SRID's cue to exit. And his too.

How did they know about the shipment in the first place?

Hefting the SAW, Gade made his move, sprinting for the eastern exit. Gade felt the bullet bite into his left calf, stinging more then anything else. Grinding through the pain, he kept pushing himself for the door.

Just around the corner and they wont have a line of fire.

He stopped behind cover to catch his breath, and he knew he was pinned. A machinegun opened up, shredding the corridor made of box containers. Gade crawled into a little nook.

Just wait...just wait for their heavy gunner to reload then run.

When the bullets suddenly stopped he made is move, hobbling mostly behind cover he turned the corner and BANG. Another agent was waiting with a shotgun in hand. Gade crumpled backwards. He could feel his own blood pooling around him... Someone was grabbing at his legs “LEAVE HIM. HIRA's ON ITS WAY. WE GOTTA GET OUT”. That was it, the last thing Gade heard before it all went black.


Bill Pearce sat at his desk staring out at the town of Trinwood trying to find answers, as he held the audio-only phone to his ear.

“From the looks of it they were just looking to see who would come claim it, though I couldn't tell you why they're so interested. Hold on I have a message coming in.” Putting his contact on hold Bill looked over the latest report from the incident in Raleigh. Coming in now was the list of casualties for both sides. One name jumped out at him. There it was in black and white. Picking up the phone he changed the topic of the conversation:

“You may want to travel to Okavango... someone is going to have to tell Kain that Gade Vonyran is dead.”

After hanging up Bill sat back in his chair and looked out the window again. His heart broke, and he reached for a new bottle of Trinwood Blue. He couldn't make the next phone call without a few drinks first.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Basal - Map

Okavango - Map (non-game version)

Due to problems with the layout, the source version of this map has been replaced.  The various sites, however, will presumably appear on the new map.


Today we fought swamp monsters, faked our own abduction by terrorists, and plotted to assassinate highly-placed political figures. It must be another episode of Wordslingin'!

[The party is in the middle of a live-ammo demonstration of some of Paxton's guns when suddenly a half-dozen vicious swamp sharks jump out of the water. One swallows half a guy's torso in one bite.]
Georges/Doc: "This concludes our presentation! Be sure to pick up your party pack on the way out!"

Down on the Street

Maia blinked away the last bit of sleep, not that she got much anyways. Okavango in Winter TN1935 was a far cry from Peace River:

The rain was incessant. Its assault on the corrugated metal roof that served as a shelter reminded her of gunfire. She was dry, but only by the slimmest of margins. No sleep.

The humidity was stifling and sickening. When you added the mosquitoes, it amounted to no sleep.

The gentle rocking of the building, floating on pontoons. Maia imagined that for an Earther, living on a planet where 70% of the surface was water, this wouldn't be a problem. But for a Badlander on Terranova, the gentle rocking was not soothing. She was no longer ill, but the feeling that she would never want to eat again was enough that she had gotten no sleep.

She stretched. Then she noticed Doctor Chambers--Tom at this point--standing at the doorway of the little shed, looking down into the square below.

"It's going to get ugly."

Maia stood, adjusting her belt and pulling her poncho over her shoulders, "well, yeah, that's why we've gone to ground..."

The Doc shook his head, "no, not that, this," he gestured towards the square. "It's going to get ugly."

Maia walked to the entrance and observed. There were scores of sajhalin milling about in a the large square bounded on two sides by rows of shops and businesses, by the building Maia and the Doc had holed up in for the night, and by the wide canal opposite the building. The rain poured down on the people as they jostled, packing into the square in increasing numbers.

A small boat slid up to the side of the canal, and two soldiers jumped off. The Emirate Guardsmen of Okavango were little more than uniformed thugs, but their shiny Paxton weapons were more than helpful in keeping the commoners in line. Maia swallowed. She could almost taste what was coming next.

The first pair of soldiers were joined by four more, while the boat was tethered to the landing. Then the soldiers began offloading big wicker baskets. Maia winced. It reminded her of the old bread distributions in the Prospects of Peace River, back before Simosa came to power. The sajhalin, sensing that their only bread of the week was now available, thronged to the boat. It didn't take long before all the bread was gone, but only a small fraction of those assembled were given what to eat.

Maia saw pushing. A fistfight erupted right in front of the soldiers. She winced. A man was pushed into the canal with a splash. Then a yell: "they've got more food aboard!" The soldiers had their weapons at the ready. The sajhalin were desperately hungry. They rushed the boat.

Maia didn't look away. She thumbed on the VR recording rig she still had on her body, and filmed as the soldiers opened fire, gunning down dozens. The victims' screams would be recorded for posterity's sake, at least.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Main Rulebook Addenda

These rules addenda supersede and expand on rules in the Heavy Gear Rulebook Second Edition.


5.4.4 - Creativity Skills (p. 60)

Delete Electronic Warfare.

Insert after Forgery.

Information Warfare

Specializations:  Sensors, ECM, Underwater Sensors, Coded Messages, Jamming
Often Possessed By:  Combat Pilots, Communications Specialists, Explorers

Information Warfare is a catch-all Skill that covers the myriad aspects of communications, sensor operations, electronic counter-measures (ECM), and electronic counter-counter-measures (ECCM).  This skill is used for detection roles, electronic jamming, and other similar activities.  It is also used in the design and breaking of codes used for communications between two parties.  This skill is essential in successfully operating a Trace-Buster-Buster-Buster.

5.4.7 – Knowledge Skills (p. 63)

Delete Communications.

5.4.8 – Perception Skills (p. 66)

Delete Sniper.


Add after 6.1.4 - Chance Tests (p. 99)

6.1.5 – Action Chips

In order to add a little extra drama, players will each receive one Action Chip at the beginning of a session.  Additional Action Chips may be issued by the GM as rewards for excellent roleplay, particularly good movie references, and other such circumstances.  Action Chips may, in rare circumstances, be taken from a player, usually as a reaction to shameless metagaming, out-of character action, or atrocious puns.

Action Chips may be spent in game in one of four ways:

1)  Action Chips may be used before an action to add one die to the attempt for every chip spent, increasing the chance for success and the possible degree of success.

2)  Action Chips may be used after an action to re-roll one die for every chip spent, possibly mitigating a botch, or slightly improving a result.

3)  Action Chips may be spent to affect the in-game situation slightly.  This use is difficult to quantify and largely depends on player/GM interaction.  An example of such a use would be when a player uses his Action Chip to convert the bartender from a complete stranger to an acquaintance from the old days.  Greater impacts require greater Action Chip expenditures.

4)  Action Chips may be spent as Command Points.

Players may pool their chips in anyway they please; collaboration in this manner is encouraged.

Action Chips may not be saved.  They accumulate during a session and expire at its end.

Add this section after 6.2.2 – Actions (p. 100) Leadership in Personal Combat

The Tactics and Leadership Skills may be used to enhance the abilities and response time of a group in combat. Tactics represents the training and experience that the characters have working together as an effective fighting force.  Leadership represents the leader of a group of warriors shouting commands and orders, organizing his group into an effective combat force.

Decide on a leader for the group — it can be any character. When combat starts, the leader of the group gets a number of Tactical Command Points (TCP) equal to the rating of his Tactics Skill plus his modifiers.

A combat group must consist of at least two people; a lone individual may not generate Command Points. Tactical Command Points may be used by any member of the combat group, but only in response to the active enemy (ie. rolling to Dodge an attack) or by himself when he is active.  Throughout a combat round, a character may never use more Tactical Command Points than his own Tactics Level.

The Tactical Command Point pool is a finite pool which does not refresh; once the Tactical Command Points are used, they are gone for the rest of the encounter.

In addition, at the beginning of any round, the leader may spend one standard action to generate a number of Leadership Command Points equal to his Leadership Skill plus his modifiers.  Leadership Command Points have the same effect as Tactical Command Points, but the leader must give them out (by shouting, hand signals, etc.).  The leader may not use Leadership Command Points but may use Tactical Command Points.

A group leader may not give more Leadership Command Points to a character than his Leadership Skill rating, per round.

Command Points

A character may use Command Points in one of three ways:

1)  One command point may be used before an action to add one die to the attempt, increasing the chance for success and the possible degree of success.

2)  One command point may be used after an action to re-roll one die, possibly mitigating a botch, or slightly improving a result.

3)  Two command points may be used at any time to take an additional action.  This may take the form of an interrupt or a follow up action.

6.2.10 - Burst Fire (p. 103)


Burst fire consumes 5 shots per +1 ROF in each attack (rather than 10).

Add this section after Walking Fire (p. 104):

Saturation Fire

A burst fire weapon (ROF equal to or greater than +1) can be used to saturate an area.  The weapon is put on full automatic fire and ammunition is emptied liberally in the target zone, filling the air with a virtual wall of projectiles.  Everyone who enters the beaten zone, crosses the firing lane, or who started in the beaten zone and takes an action suffers an attack automatically.

To perform saturation fire, the attacker chooses an area (up to 5-meter wide at the weapon’s Medium range band) to lay fire on,  then rolls his attack normally, except that the weapon’s maximum ROF is added to the result.  Attackers can augment the size of the area affected by spreading the projectiles around; this doubles the width of the area affected, but divides the Saturation Fire Threshold in half (rounded up).  Record the result: that’s the Saturation Fire Threshold.  Anyone or anything which enters that saturated zone or crosses the firelane later during the combat round must beat the Saturation Threshold or take damage. If the defender fails, the Margin of Failure is multiplied by the Damage Multiplier of the weapon and the resulting damage is treated as usual.

If the defender is already in the saturated zone before the attack and under cover, they cannot move this round unless they first pass a Willpower Attribute test against a Threshold equal to 2 + (RoF used in the Saturation Fire).  If they move from cover into the saturated zone, they will be attacked as above.  Defenders not in cover will be attacked on their action as if they had moved into the zone.

There are two limitations to Saturation fire: the saturation zone must be within the medium range of the weapon or closer and the weapon must use its maximum ROF, consuming the appropriate amount of ammo.. If the weapon doesn’t have this much ammo left, round up to the nearest ROF; the result still stands but the ammo magazine is emptied (5 shots minimum are required for saturation fire).

6.2.12 - Injuries (p. 105)


Add after paragraph 2:


Being struck by bullets is unpleasant in the extreme.  A character may be thrown off balance or simply bowled over by the transfer of energy.  Successful ballistic hits may knock the character down.  Roll an Agility test against a threshold of the Margin of Success of the attack + 1; failure results in the character falling to the ground.

Insert between Deep Wounds (p. 105) and Knockouts (p. 106).

Hit Location and Damage

Though it is often best to leave damage as a generic entry to keep play fluid, sometimes more details are required (for called shots, for example — see Aiming, section 6.2.7 for more). Different areas handle damage in different ways. If a limb is incapacitated it cannot be used in action or combat in any way.

Arms and Legs: An arm or leg can only take a certain amount of damage until it is incapacitated. Two Flesh wounds or a single Deep wound will render a limb useless (in addition to the standard Action Penalties). An Instant Death result is considered a Deep wound, but crushes or severs the limb. Ignore any additional damage aimed at an incapacitated limb.

Hands or Feet: An hand or foot can only take a bit of damage until it is incapacitated. A single Flesh wound or Deep wound will render a limb useless (in addition to the standard Action Penalties). An Instant Death result is considered a Deep wound, but crushes or severs the limb. Ignore any additional damage aimed at an incapacitated limb.

Head or Vitals: A hit to the head or other sensitive area (groin, throat, etc.) can be painful indeed. The defenders Wound Thresholds are halved (round up) for the purposes of these attacks. Armor still has its full effect, if it covers that area.

Add after 6.5.2 – Integration with the Tactical System (p. 118)

6.5.3 - Electronic Warfare

Electronic Warfare is a catch-all term for Communications, Sensors and various Electronic Countermeasures and tricks used to secure the war zone for battlefield command and control.

Communications, ECM and ECCM

Communications is used for transmitting Command Points, calling for Indirect Fire, artillery strikes and air strikes. Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) will interfere with enemy Communications, while Electronic Counter- Countermeasures (ECCM) will help negate enemy ECM and boost friendly Comms. For convenience, friendly ECM does not affect friendly Units, only enemy Units.

Every Unit has an Automated Comms value, representing its base Communications capability. Some more specialized Units have ECM or ECCM. Automated ECM and ECCM values are equal to the base Rating of the system if present. Crew with an Information Warfare Skill higher than the Automated ECM or ECCM value may add 1 to the Automated ECM or ECCM (or both) if the system is present, representing the crew augmenting the basic hardware and software. You cannot gain a level 1 in ECM or ECCM if the system is not present on the Unit, no matter what your crew’s EW skill is.

Using ECM and ECCM

ECM and ECCM are turned off by default, but may be turned on at no action cost at any point during a Unit’s Activation. Turning ECM or ECCM on means that the unit in question generates their Automated ECM or ECCM Rating until the system is turned back off.

There are times when you may wish to increase the ECM or ECCM values above their Automated Ratings. In this case, the EW operator must spend an action to roll Information Warfare and add the appropriate Rating. The result is the new ECM or ECCM value, which degrades by 1/round as opposing EW software or operators work to defeat it, UNLESS the operator spends an action maintaining the jamming. A Unit may attempt this multiple times a round, but they must take the highest result of all the attempts. If multiple ECM or ECCM values are on the field, take only the best value from each side for each system.

If there is no enemy ECM in play or the Automated Comm value plus friendly ECCM value exceeds the enemy’s ECM, then the Unit has Open Communications and no roll is required to Communicate with friendly Units. This means you may freely transmit Command Points, act as a Forward Observer and relay co-ordinates for Indirect Fire or call in support options such as Off-Board Artillery and Air Strikes. If the Unit does not have Open Comms, a Communications roll will be required to perform any of those actions or anything else that requires Communication. Roll Information Warfare plus the Comm Rating and the friendly ECCM value. If the total beats the enemy’s ECM value, the communication has successfully gone through. (Note the sender does the test, not the receiver.) Even though the communications test required a roll, it does not eat up one of the Unit’s actions. Active Comms may only be used to attempt to punch through ECM jamming once per Forward Observation or Call (Reserves, Air Strikes, etc.) Action. In addition, it may only be rolled once per Command Point transfer attempt.

Target Designators

If a Unit carrying a Target Designator has LoS to an enemy Unit, you can attempt to tag that enemy Unit with the TD. The nature of the Target Designator makes it much like Sniping with your electronics, and, as such, the procedure works like a cross between shooting and communicating. The Tagging Unit makes an Information Warfare roll, adding in the TD and Comm ratings of the Unit, as well as attack modifiers for movement. The Threshold is equal to 5 plus the enemy’ Defensive Movement modifier. If enemy ECM is present, it gets added to the Threshold and friendly ECCM will get added to the EW roll as per the ECM/ECCM rules above.

Roll: Information Warfare + Comms Rating + Target Designator Rating + Attack Movement

Modifiers + ECCM if ECM is present 

Threshold: 5 + Defensive Movement Modifiers + ECM if Present

If successful, the Targeted Unit is considered tagged. All Guided weapons gain a +2 to attack Units that are tagged (if using Indirect Fire, this is added to the placement roll, but not to damage). The test also serves as a Forward Observer call for Guided weapons only, allowing Guided weapons with Indirecct Fire to fire on the location of the tagged Unit without LoS. Any IF weapons that are not Guided would require a normal Forward Observation check. Units remain tagged until the end of the round or until they move, whichever comes first.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And we think of these things as well…

Data cannot be retrieved, Error type 206.2.

Imparted with proper force, the lack or aerodynamics can be temporarily overcome with pure energy. Thus, upon displaying the virus message for the third time, the MemCompass flew across the barracks that were housing the Paxton Demonstration team.

Dr Chambers let out a sigh and walked across the room to collect the MemCompass where it had made its emergency landing. He noticed Sam looking at him through the freshly cleaned cylinders of his revolver and would have felt sheepish if his anger weren’t on the prowl like a wolf. He snarled at Sam who returned a puzzled look. Luckily Kain wasn’t there to make some kind of snide remark.

Sitting again at the desk he started a purged of the device’s memory and a reboot of factory sequestered backups. ‘Irshan’ He thought to himself. ‘Well good on him for being cautious.’

So they had no tracking data for the better part of the trip out of the undercity of Basal, well it wasn’t essential anyway; just damned convenient. He had the telemetry off the Skavaran troops’ hardware they had collected, but far more valuable was the trideo film of the trip out. The Doc had switched on Maia’s recording rig just as they set out. Granted it got a little too dark for proper navigation in the middle point, but it clearly showed the undercity and the way points.

It was more information than the Emir of Basal would be comfortable with them having, and if there were any doubt of that before, the little trick with the virus in their compass certainly confirmed it.

Doctor Chambers edited it to make it look more incriminating that it was, compressed it into a small data packet encrypted and uploaded it to a server for safe keeping. Information was the most valuable weapon and it was time to build an arsenal.

He chastised himself for not anticipating treachery, his failure frustrated him more than the mistake warranted, but he reminded himself that he was in the game again.

He couldn’t just go through the motions of furiously beating his wings, sooner of later the ground would come real fast and remind him of the difference between flying and tumbling through the air with conviction.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meanwhile, in the commander's office...

The ground swayed precariously under her feet, and the bile rose in her throat. She fought to keep it down. Professionalism aside, it would be the height of embarrassment to throw up in the middle of a meeting with Camp Blackwater's most senior NCO.

Adjutant Chef Jevalier was a tall man and broad in the shoulders. He walked with complete confidence over the constantly-moving floorboards, back and forth from the door to his office to the table where Maia sat and back again. The corners of his mouth pulled downward in what Maia suspected was a perpetual scowl, his brow furrowed. He stopped at the desk and placed both hands firmly down on it. "Remind me again why you're here, Miss..."

"Kessler," Maia supplied smoothly. After Delacoix and Chambers had identified her as the leader of their little group -- "Talking time, you're in charge," had been Kain's words -- Jevalier had lost interest in everyone but her, though given the relative dearth of women around the base, Maia wouldn't have been surprised if he'd taken an interest anyway.

"Right. Kessler. Why are you here again?"

"Paxton demonstration team," the words came more smoothly every time she said them, and would be even more smooth if she could figure out how to make the world stop rolling.

"Demonstration team," muttered Jevalier, and began walking back towards the door. "And Paxton sent you to Camp Blackwater to demonstrate... what, again?"

"Not sent, as such," she corrected mildly. "We're a freelance unit with a flexible territory designation, which means we go where the guns are." Jevalier shot her a look from the door, clearly suspicious. "It's a new initiative. A pilot project, if you will."

He walked back across the room again, and Maia envied his ability to look completely at ease despite the changing angles of the room. "An initiative to do what?" he asked. He looked like a caged panther, Maia realized, just itching for a chance to burst through the bars.

"We have a dual mandate," she said, launching into the pitch that she'd rehearsed to distract herself from the nausea on the raft the rice farmer generously called a boat. "First, to act as a roving sales team wherever Paxton products are sold." Jevalier looked like he was about to interject. Maia raised a hand, ever so slightly. "We're aware that you have regular contact with other Paxton sales teams, but in times of conflict, Paxton realizes that your regular orders sometimes won't be sufficient, especially in a hostile environment like this. We're merely here to supplement, in case any of your current equipment needs replacing or upgrading."

Jevalier was pacing again, and Maia closed her eyes a moment to steady herself. She could almost hear the grumble in his throat, and wondered if it was because they needed new equipment, or because they didn't.

"That was the first mandate. And the second?"

He was staring out the window, but no doubt he was listening to every word she said. Despite checking her papers five times, she could tell he still didn't trust her or her team. And at least for the latter concern, she couldn't blame him. "Like I said, we're a demonstration unit."

"Miss Kessler, your weapons are sitting in my armory right now. Believe me, there's nothing you need to demonstrate about them."

She knew the objection would come up. It was bound to. "You're perfectly right. In larger cities -- Okavango, Skavara, Strathcylde -- we have the latest products shipped in. To carry a full demonstration kit with us would be prohibitive both in terms of weight and cost."

Jevalier was back to the desk, staring directly at her. No doubt this was a look that had caused many new recruits to break down quivering. "So what are you doing here, Miss Kessler, if you have nothing to demonstrate?"

Maia had dealt with his type before. "You do have Paxton equipment here, don't you? We're here to show your men how to use their weapons to their fullest potential. Anyone can pull the trigger of a gun, but we're here to show you how to prevent jams, mitigate kickback, and show you a few tricks that maybe even you don't know, Adjutant Chef."

Jevalier sat down and leaned forward. "Tell me one," he said, the challenge clear on his face.

She wished, for the hundredth time this meeting, that the nausea would let up, just for a few moments. But, yet again, the universe ignored her. She breathed in slowly. "You use Paxton autocannons on your Jägers. My guess is you've sometimes been frustrated by the rate of fire. It's deliberately slowed to prevent overheating. But sometimes, you and I both know that you need to fill the air with lead. There's an override underneath the firing mechanism that will let you increase the firing rate for limited periods of time. Though, like I said, you'll run the risk of overheating if you use it too long."

That, at least, had piqued Jevalier's interest. "Is that so?" he said it slowly, and Maia could see the wheels turning already. He stood up and walked back towards the window, looking out over the swamps. She watched the trees moving back and forth beyond him, plants bigger than anything she'd ever seen in the Badlands.

He turned back abruptly. "Fine. 0800 tomorrow morning I'll muster a platoon for a refresher course. If I like what I see, we'll cycle the rest through over the next few days. In the meantime, I suggest you find somewhere to shower and bunk up for a few hours."

Maia smiled and nodded. In what she hoped was a smooth motion, she stood up, and immediately caught herself against the desk, the world spinning around her. Jevalier's eyes narrowed and he took a few steps forward. "Look, Kessler, don't get me wrong, but you look like shit. You're like a paysan recruit just stepped off the boat. You ever been on water before?"

Maia fought to keep the bile down as she shook her head and tried to keep her voice even. "Not much opportunity in the Badlands, I'm afraid."

Something in her voice must have touched him, and he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Go down to the quartermaster's and get some wrist bands. They won't help with the disorientation, but they'll at least keep your stomach settled." He straightened up. "Can't have you out in front of my men looking like this. They'll rip you to pieces."

Maia nodded gratefully. "Thank you."

He led her to the door, and two men in uniform were waiting to escort her. She smoothed her jacket -- dirt-encrusted and smelling to high heaven -- and made her way slowly along the rolling decks, her stomach rolling right along with them. She had no idea who was ultimately responsible for her being in this hellhole, but she vowed one day to find out and put a bullet directly between their eyes.


[We're dealing with Srivan Irshan, our contact in Basal, a middleman in the fine tradition of smarmy middlemen everywhere.]
Brock: "Urge to kill rising!"
Ariel: "Is he a bad guy?"
Brock: "No, he's just irritating."

I do think of these things, you know...

"Well?" Srivan Irshan, agent of Emir Shirow sat in the small ramshackle hut that served as a bar in Basal's Undercity. He sipped on whatever moonshine the proprietor had poured into his cup, his eyes studying the faces of his two men, peeking over the rim.

"They got out," Igor nodded, "tough bastards, them. We fought us some tunnel rats."

Atuk coughed.

"Skavarans?" Irshan set his cup down, frowning.

"Yessir, a recon team. They got them all though. Messy, but they walked away from it," Igor smiled, "no survivors."

"Good. At least that tunnel is still intact," Srivan spat, handing the two men some coins, "enjoy."

He watched them scurry off like sewer rats, and pulled out a datapad. Srivan stood, wobbled, and then trundled towards the entrance to the Emirate palace, composing a message:




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