Cawnpore and Perseus are available in the Createspace eStore and on Amazon.com where, if you order a physical copy of the books, you get the ebook for free. They are also available as ebooks on every ereader out there.

Coming soon: Hercules, the follow-up to Perseus.

The April 2015 RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by RPG Alchemy with the subject of “The Combat Experience.” I was mulling over what to do for this particular subject and found I had two or three different things that came to mind, so I’m going to do a series of posts regarding the “combat experience” in role playing games. Let’s roll…

Other than the obvious issues of matching the tone and expectations of the genre your are gaming in, another thing that can affect and mold the players’ experience of combat in a role playing game is the set of rules mechanics being used. The mechanics can easily affect tone, verisimilitude, and player expectations for battling the forces of evil.

When I first started gaming, Dungeons & Dragons and Traveler were pretty much it, but soon TSR had GangbustersTop Secret, and Gamma World — all using the early d20 mechanics. Those were created for use with high fantasy wargaming with role playing bolted on as an after-thought. The rules promoted a tactical mentality, and a tendency — if not need — to use battle maps, design adventures that were fairly detailed. For the spy genre, which was already near and dear to me, d20 Top Secret  had some serious issues, and it was delight for me to read the James Bond: 007 game that hit the shelves around 1983.

The rules push more roleplaying, with attention to weaknesses and skills, the quirks of specific gear, cars, and guns. It had a bunch of specific rules for things like gambling or seduction that, today, seem unnecessary, but combat…combat and chase rules were the shining spot of the rules. The game used a single d100 role, and based on the difficulty, your result had a “quality” to it. Ten percent of the needed number (so 9 or lower on a 90, for instance) allowed you to do much higher damage than an acceptable (46-90, in this case…) Damage was based on your hand to hand damage, which was based on your strength (plus a modifier), and for guns the damage was based on the muzzle energy of the weapon. Novel, and good for making the game feel realistic. But it was also a James Bond game — the heroes couldn’t just bite it without some chance of success, so it had the “hero point” mechanic, now common in a lot of games, that allowed you to buy down damage, improve a roll, etc. The game, for all its quirks, was wonderfully suited to the tone and expectations of the James Bond subgenre of espionage films — more pulp than reality.

GURPS was already out, and the intense mathematics of the character generation made it uninteresting to me, but one thing I noted was that its attempt to be everything to everyone meant it did everything acceptably, but nothing particularly well (Your mileage may vary.) Traveler handled quasi-realistic sci-fi well, and the system was simple, but the random character generation — like that of D&D, and other games was off-putting after the ability to craft your character to your concept, like you could in James Bond: 007. JB:007 would be my go-to rules set for the next 20 years or so, for modern and even some sci-fi settings. It had enough “crunch” to feel real, but enough wiggle room for storytelling to trump pure tactical simulation.

I dabbled with superhero games through the late ’80s, the height of the comic resurgence that is now informing most of the superhero movies these days. There was Champions, which really allowed you to dial in on character creation, but was so detailed and math oriented that you needed to buy time of a Cray supercomputer to build a character in less than a week. There was Marvel Superheroes (FASRIP) which had a very informal and unstructured feel to the rules that I found I didn’t like. I was looking for more crunch, more realism in my superhero games at the time (a holdover, no doubt, from cutting my teeth on JB:007.) I wanted to know how far I threw my villain, or how many walls he punched through from knockback, and I found that in the wonderfully metric and mathematical DC Heroes that Mayfair released. WE played the hell out of DCH for two years, until Space:1889 caught my eye, but looking back at it, there was a lot to like about the bare bones of Marvel, and I suspect that it would well match the tone of a four-color supers setting.

Later, I found Marvel Heroic from Margaret Weiss to be one of the best RPG rules sets to come out in years. It was perfectly suited to its subject — a Cortex-version of Fate, really — that was freeform enough to let you do what you wanted, and allowed for dramatically different power levels to work together. Hawkeye like characters might not be able to injure the Hulk, but he could distract, set up complications that would slow the opposition down, while Iron Man could blast the bejeezus out of him. Death was a possibility, but in the comics, no one stays dead (unless you want to lose the rights to that character down the line!), so the Fate complications that injure or impede the character, rather than killing them, is completely appropriate to the genre. The initiative system was superb — the guy with the best reflexes goes first, and then choses the next player or GM, leading to a very nice flow in combat, and allows for character to do their schtick. Example: maybe Captain America can’t hurt the robots from the trailer for Avengers 2 much, but he can throw his shield at Thor (essentially giving him dice for the attack), who then knocks the shield through baddies with his hammer like he was looking to set the Hall of Fame record for longest hit.

Space: 1889 is another excellent example of how mechanics affected play. The setting was superb, and the mechanics lent themselves well to traditional wargaming style RPGing. This was obviously the point when one looks at the extensive line of miniature and the cloudship war game that accompanied the release. But the rules weren’t great for dealing with role playing, and while it handled mass combat well, personal combat was unremarkable — the rules didn’t necessarily hinder play, but they lent nothing to the Victorian speculative fiction setting the game was placed in. I spent the middle of the ’90s trying to find a rules set that would better emulate the Space: 1889 setting. I liked the Castle Falkenstein mechanics, but they were kludged in many places.

With one of our players of the time, I kitbashed a combat system that would fit the playing card as randomizer main mechanic (which was light, swift, and excellent.) I tweaked the rules so that every player had a deck of cards of their own, and drew a number of cards for a hand. This allowed them options; they could plan their actions because they had a sense of what they could do — have a strong heart in the hand? Maybe talking your way out of a situation was better than trying to fight or slip away. Our combat system replaced the fencing-based action/pauses they had and created a more pulpy mechanic where the cards in your hand matched lines of attack — head, body, lower, or defense only. It played swiftly and was tremendous fun, and allowed for swordfights and fisticuffs that were much more fun than blasting the opposition with guns — and after all, Victorian sci-fi is more about two-fisted adventure than running guns on the fuzzies (although there is certainly a place for that.)

The next set of mechanics to come along that suited the setting were the Cortex rules set by Margaret Weiss. They used it for their SerenityBattlestar Galactica, and Supernatural lines. It was a rules-lite system that allowed you to build your characters with a number of assets and flaws that helped or hampered them mechanically, and allowed for the accumulation of plot points (see the hero points above) and by doing so pushed storytelling over tactical simulation. It’s an excellent set of rules, and combat is well simulated with your damage being based on how much you surpassed your target number (plus the weapon’s damage die.) It is eminently, easily tweakable to fit a genre — as is obvious by the various iterations of Cortex Plus. It’s pretty much my go-to system –as evidenced by the heavy support for the old Cortex this website gives.

There are other games that had been well-suited to what they were trying to accomplish, but were very focused, s a result. Twilight:2000 was well designed to model military survival after a nuclear war, but the rules could be clunky, hard to manage, and did not really push role playing (I found; you may love it, and that is okay!) The Morrow Project was an mess of a role playing gam, but simulated gunshot injuries well — no surprise that many of the rules evolved out of a dissertation on ballistics and gunshot injuries. If you’re looking for realism in your violence, that’s the place to go.

In addition to addressing the expectations of your players, and the tropes of the genre you are playing in, choosing the right system can aid or hinder the sort of experience you want the players to have when addressing combat. Choose wisely, as a really old knight once said…

 

The April 2015 RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by RPG Alchemy with the subject of “The Combat Experience.” I was mulling over what to do for this particular subject and found I had two or three different things that came to mind, so I’m going to do a series of posts regarding the “combat experience” in role playing games. Let’s roll…

The obvious question for me is “How do you role play combat?” I suspect the key to an effective fight scene in a game is to match style of combat to the genre being played and the expectations of that milieu. If one is playing low fantasy in the Conan-style, brutal but over the top descriptions that delight in the gore being created seems appropriate; high fantasy like The Lord of the Rings has a more nuanced approach, where good and evil are important, as is your intent. The violence could be brutal or not, but how it reflects the intent of the characters, and hence affects them in the aftermath is something to think about.

For a setting like Enlightenment-era swashbucklers — musketeers or pirates — the combat should be fun and elegant, the descriptions should be more about the fancy maneuvers and how they use their environment. Do you swing from chandeliers? Use the ratlines to avoid the stabs of that gap-toothed buccaneer? How do the opponents speak to each other — this is the period of respect for your enemy, repartee while fencing, not unfairly blasting your opponent with a pistol when swords have been offered. Similarly, Victorian-period games lend themselves to fisticuffs and swordplay over guns (unless you’re in the West…then strap up, greenhorn!)

For pulp games — the era that brought us the trope of masked avengers who use their fists and gadgets over guns (Batman, Daredevil, etc…they’re all the watered down version of the more vicious Shadow or Doc Savage.) These should be fights with strange opponents from Oriental martial arts and mystics, to torturous Nazis, or Thompson-weilding gangsters. While dangerous, that shot to the shoulder never has the hero worrying about an irreparable shattering of the shoulder ball, or a permanent tear to the innerspinatal rotator cuff, or a gushing, torn brachial or subclavian artery. Shoulders were ready made for bullet catching. Same with thighs — the femoral artery does not come into play.

But a military game set in one of the great wars, or fighting terrorists in contemporary times might be better suited to more graphic and realistic portrayals of violence, where theres little honor in surviving, bullets do either incredible damage or surprisingly small amounts, but lordy you really don’t want to get stabbed. (I have. Trust me.) Dealing with the horror and stress of combat might be an excellent driver for the characters to grapple with, and graphic descriptions of the damage done to the opposition (or to your character) might enhance the verisimilitude of the setting. Here, guns aren’t magic…they have an effective range, limited ammunition, and double gunning it while jumping across a room screaming “aaaaargh!” isn’t advisable. You might break something when you land. Body armor’s only so good, and injuries can be with you for multiple sessions.

For science fiction games, again, the tone of the setting is important to keep in mind. I don’t know how many groups I’ve seen playing Star Trek want to turn it into some version of Aliens or Starship Troopers. You stun you enemies in Trek…or try. You might punch out a Klingon, but there’s usually some soliloquy to working together that has to be delivered before you go get your tunic’s shoulder sewed back together. Babylon 5 might similarly require the good guys to try and favor honor over expediency, but in Battlestar Galactica that’s kinda stupid, since the toasters aren’t going to play fair, are they?

How about superhero games? There’s a tendency for some GMs to want to go “realistic” with people that can tear down a building with their hands. Think about that for a sec… Realistic with a character like Batman, Green Arrow, or Daredevil (seriously, check out the Netflix show — it’s amazingly good!) is doable. The character might get chewed up, but either they have an excellent medic cum butler, magic herbs, or jut go back into the fray badly injured. Dark and rainy, noir settings (neon, people…neon), and moral ambiguity work well with these settings — they are the descendants of the Shadow, after all.

This does not work for four-color heroes like Superman (talking to you, DC!) Good and evil might have some shades of gray, but the heroes are good, and the bad guys are bad. You might destroy a city block in a fight, but you’re probably being applauded by the public and the real estate companies, not sued by the insurance companies or on trial for reckless endangerment. You can cut a fine line with a campaign that draws from the likes of The Incredibles, but the tone is still a light one, not some brooding, angsty screed. Four color heroes fight in the day, over the city, where people can exclaim, or in a secret base or in space; they aren’t kicking some random criminal’s ass in an steam-filled alleyway.

For the combat experience you want, you have to know the tone of your game, your setting, and more importantly, your players and their expectations. If the characters are expecting a gritty sic-fi setting, talking uplifted otters might not (although they are unquestionable awesome!) If you are the scions of a society dedicated to rationality and peace, whipping out the blaster and burning down your enemies shouldn’t be something encouraged but doing so should entail a funky sound effect and a person that disappears neatly (Star Trek), or collapses in an amazingly bloodless heap (Babylon 5.) If you’re storming Normandy beach in your WWII game, body parts and blood, terror and deafness from noise, a confused description of the battlefield that involves confusing the players, just as their characters would be is perfectly acceptable.

Genre, however, isn’t the only thing to keep in mind. Player expectations are equally important and the players and their characters don’t have to have the same “experience.” Are your players squeamish? Maybe a detailed inspection of their opponents entrails they just slipped on isn’t the way to go. Are your players expecting their players to do incredible things while they fight crime in the underbelly of 1930s Shanghai? Realistic combat where they don’t mow through hordes of books might be disappointing, and there better bloody be some chop socky going on. Even if terrible things have happened to nice people, unless necessary to the tone and expectations of the players, you can alway just tell them they are horrified by the carnage they have just witnesses, or inform them the women are lamenting volubly.

Sooooo…I was doing some quick shopping yesterday, and when I came out of the Albertson’s, I found (or rather didn’t find) my backpack with my old Air in it missing. A quick call to the Albuquerque Police Department got me a “file a report online”…nice. After using my iPad to call it in, and to file an insurance claim, I got permission from “She Who Must Be Obeyed” to pick up a new laptop. A not-impressive visit to the Apple Store — usually so helpful — and I had my new MacBook Air 13″.

Setup was both very easy and a giant pain in the ass. The initial setup, with iCloud, setting up the email accounts, etc. was fast and flawless. Software upgrades and adding Sophos anti-virus, Caffeine, and Dropbox, had me on the latest Yosemite version within an hour of getting the thing home. Then I started trying to get it to do handoff with my iPhone and iPad. Getting iMessages and FaceTime turned into an hour long exercise in swearing and gnashing of teeth. The issue turned out to be the iPhone, in the end — between two-step authentication, app-specific passwords, yadda yadda I finally got it working, but it was not exactly “Just working”.

So, how’s it stack up to the old Air? It looks almost exactly the same as the last version, except the power cable is different. I swear, Apple changes its power cables every damned iteration of a machine so you have a collection of useless power cables. It’s got a Thunderbolt port, two USB ports, an SD card slot (which is very handy for an extra “hard drive”.) It’s got a 1440×900 screen resolution with an Intel HD 6000 with 1536mb card. There’s backlit keys, where the old late 2010 didn’t.

Performance is noticeably better for video. YouTube, both Flash and H265 ran smoothly and the fans never kicked on. I have most of my media on a 2TB external drive that the old Air hated talking to. The new Air played all of Zombieland last night over wifi from the external drive without the fan coming on, nor any lag. So for video playback, it’s much, much improved.

Battery life is incredible! The original 2010 Air was getting me seven hours of use after four years of service, still pretty damned good for a new laptop. The 2015 Air gave me six hours of use, including watching a full movie, and still had 50% of the battery left. With moderate internet use, I should be able to get a good 10-12 hours of use out of the laptop.

The latest iteration of OS X Yosemite has a few nice touches, the most obvious being the new Photos app. It’s a lot like iPhoto, but with a much more stripped down interface, and it seems to be less intrusive (so far) when trying to, well, anything. iPhoto used to jump to the rescue whenever you tried to sync devices; Photos does it, too. I loaded a 32gb-sized photo library into Photos and it took about three hours with organizing, etc. I didn’t really see a dramatic difference between the function of the two programs, save Photos seems faster — especially pulling pics from the SD card. Likewise, iTunes seems a bit less sludgy, lately, and was pulling from the SD card library, or from the external hard drive with nary a hiccup. The old Air would have be stuttering and freezing during the whole process.

So in closing, the new MacBook Air isn’t the hot, trendy machine it was four years ago, but it’s still a damned good computer with got a lot going for it, and I would suggest the utility is higher than the new MacBook. (The point of which, I will admit, eludes me.) The battery life is second to no other laptop, it is remarkably able at handling big projects and gaming, and with a 256GB SSD and a 256GB SDXC card, it’s equal to the base MacBook Pro for storage space. It’s thin and light — especially useful for someone on the go a lot (or who rides a motorcycle and doesn’t want a ton of weight slung over his shoulder…) It’s less pricey than the model was a few years ago, gives better performance, and still looks great when you’re pretending to write your novel at the local coffeeshop.

Before we get all butthurt about the rest of the piece: 1) About the only people I discriminate against a folks with bad tattoos…you obviously make bad decisions, but hey! that’ll look great at 65! 2) I live in a state with a RFRA and that didn’t lead to flaming pyres with homosexuals roasting upon them. 3) As a libertarian (or “real liberal”) I don’t care what you do, so long as you don’t scare the horse, and everyone’s on board with it. So check the pro- or anti-gay bullshit at the door if you choose to comment.

Oh, you might need this…

butthurt-form

Indiana joined the ranks of 19 other states, and the federal government, that have some version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or “riff-ra”) last week and the interwebz melted down with deliriously outrageous outrage. Apparently, the passage of this bill will lead to some manner of Auschwitz-style oppression of homosexuals in the state. You’d be well forgiven for thinking this if you’ve been getting your news Facefuck Facebook or some other mainstream media outlet (except Fox…then civilization is imperiled by the protests.) However, unless you are protesting and boycotting the other states on the map below, you’re a fucking hypocrite…or just really uninformed. You choose:

imrs

So doing what I know not a single one of the people complaining on Facebook has done, I RTFM (military folks know what this means, for the rest of you…) I read the damned bill before I opined. Novel, I know. Here’s a quick comparison of RFRA for those of you who can’t click here and read it.

What RFRA does, in this case, is — as in all of the other instances of this sort of law — establish that the state cannot “burden an individual’s exercise of religion unless the burden is of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Here are some examples of what that means:

  1. The government’s compelling someone to do something that violates his religious beliefs, or prohibiting someone from doing something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
  2. The government’s denying someone a tax exemption or unemployment compensation unless he does something that violates his religious beliefs, or refrains from something that is mandated by his religious beliefs.
  3. As to state and federal constitutional regimes, it’s not clear whether the above also applies when the objector’s conduct is merely motivated by his religious beliefs (e.g., the objector thinks it’s a religiously valuable thing for him to stay home on the Sabbath, rather than a religious commandment) and not actually mandated by those beliefs. The federal RFRA, many state RFRAs, and RLUIPA expressly apply to “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by … a system of religious belief.”
  4. The beliefs need not be longstanding, central to the claimant’s religious beliefs, internally consistent, consistent with any written scripture, or reasonable from the judge’s perspective. They need only be sincere.

RFRA laws got their start in 1993, mostly due to the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith decision (Google it — research is good for you…) with a federal law that “statutory presumptive entitlement to exemption from generally applicable laws.” This doesn’t not abnegate other civil rights or legal obligations, but places the burden — rightfully — on the government not the plaintiff and states the State cannot compel you to do something against your conscience. You know, that conscience that people respect until it doesn’t align with their conscience.. RFRA, as The Washington Post tells us, are “…about accommodating religious belief, not authorizing discrimination…” no matter what Tim Cook’s (or your Facebook friend from England or France or Germany, or wherever they are whinging from) opinion on the matter might be.

“But, Scott,” someone is currently wheezing through their vapors, “It will be used to discriminate against gay people!” 1) Happy people are cool and shouldn’t be discriminated against, no matter their sexual orientation, but in case you mean homosexual, then 2) no it fucking won’t. How do I know? Let’s look at a few cases where RFRA laws were involved in legal cases concerning discrimination by businesses against homosexuals.

New Mexico has a RFRA. We’re also a recent cynosure for religious vs. homosexual personal rights. Here’s some ways this has played out.

1) In 2006, a New Mexico church was using hoasca tea in their ceremonies…because it gets you high, if we’re going to be honest, but let’s assume that it is vital to their communications with whatever Almighty they worship. The federal government used the Controlled Substances Act to seize their hoasca and harass the membership. In a rare moment of protecting the interests of the people, the Supreme Court found against the government, thanks to RFRA.

2) Last year, a Elaine Photography was found to have violated the civil rights of a homosexual couple when they refused to provide services for their wedding. So right there is your precedent for why the Indiana law won’t discriminate against gays. It’s settled law.

But that’s just New Mexico, you say? I read in The Atlantic that it’s different in significant ways! Nope. But it says that religious protections exist even when the government isn’t involved in the case…well, that’s the pesky First Amendment for you; you can’t discriminate against me because I’m Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, an agnostic, or a Scientologist. Well…Scientologist…

It also establishes that companies, not just non-profits have the right to religious protections, similar to the Texas RFRA. This is due to the recent Burwel v Hobby Lobby decision. And what about Burwell v Hobby Lobby you ask? Even the creepily progressive rag Slate couldn’t find fault here –even Sam Alito, not a favorite of the Progressives, said the ruling was not a “…shield [for]…religious practice to escape legal sanction…” So that’s, again, precedence set by the Supreme Court of the nation. Nowhere, over the two decades of RFRA, has it been used successfully to discriminate against homosexuals.

You are, simply, wrong.

So why is everyone so fired up about this law? Here’s the truth: Progressives are trying to get in front of the 2016 election, in which Indiana governor Mike Pence was seen as a strong contender for the Republicans. They only wish this was happening in Wisconsin so they could go after Scott Walker. It’s political theater produced to make people who read headlines like they were the full story have a visceral, emotional reaction that goes viral on FaceTwitSpace.

You have, simply, been used.

Now, if after all that, you still want to boycott GenCon, here’s some good reasons — the prices for airfare,  admission, hotels, and food are too bloody high and Indianapolis should pay the price for their perfidy. Or so I read someplace.

 

Blaxploitation time!

Napoleon Jones

Concept Aspect: Undercover Brother; Omega Aspect: I Ain’t No Sell Out!

MODES: Martial Artist +3: Athletics, Combat, Notice +5, Physique, Stealth: +4, Will +3; Aspect: Bad-Ass Mutha f@#$er

Action +2: Provoke +3; Aspect: When you need me, I’ll be there…

Intrigue +1; Brother can’t be too sure…

STUNTS: Dragon Style: +1 combat in hand-to-hand, Weapon 1; Jive Talkin': Use Will for Deceive or Rapport when “being bad.”; Lightning Reflexes: Go first in combat; Pain Ain’t Nothin': 1/scene, check two physical stress and add, soak that value of physical harm; Ten-Oxen Punch: Fate point to break inanimate object

STRESSES: Physical: 4, Mental 5

Harry Milquetoast

Concept Aspect: Gentleman Spy; Aspect: Queen and Country

MODES: Banter +3: Contacts, Deceive, Provoke, Will +4; Aspect: Manners Maketh the Man

Action +2: Notice, Vehicles +3; Aspect: Judo Expert

Secret Agent +2; Aspect: This Requires the Greatest Discretion

STUNTS: Black Umbrella: +2 Combat using ‘brawley; Could You Help Me?: Use Deceive for Combat to attack unsuspecting opponent; Judo Black Belt: When defending with Combat, a success with style give a three shift hit to opponent; Signature Aspect: Britain’s Top Agent; Tech Sent This…: 1/volume can spend a Fate point to have a Mega-Stunt gadget limited to Contacts rating.

STRESSES: Physical: 3, Mental: 4

…and his sidekick…

“Coco Pebbles” Post

Concept Aspect: Breakin’ Barriers; Omega Aspect: I Ain’t Nobobdy’s Squeeze!

MODES: Banter +3: Contacts, Deceive, Provoke +4; Aspect: I Know a Guy…

Secret Agent +2: Notice, Vehicles +3; Aspect: I’m kinda new at this…

Action +1; Aspect: Kung-Fu Mama

STUNTS: ‘fro Pick: +1 combat, Weapon 1; Funky Kung-Fu: When defending with Combat, a success w/ style give opponent a 3 shift physical hit; I Don’t always Get Captured: A fate point allows her to concede after a defense; Impeccable Timing: Fate point to go next in combat;

MEGA-STUNT: Where’d You Hide That?: +2 to defend against search when in tight or revealing clothing; a Fate point allows her to have either 1) a small gadget to add +1 to a skill to overcome/create and advantage 1/scene OR, 2) have a Weapon 1 for 1 scene.

STRESSES: Physical: 2, Mental: 4

 

Here’s a few characters to fit in the early Cold War:

Artemis Campbell

Concept Aspect: Smuggler Queen; Omega Aspect: The Med is Mine

MODES: Master Criminal +3: Notice +5, Combat, Contacts, Deceive, Stealth, Vehicles+4; Cold Warrior for Capitalism

Action +2: Provoke +3; Aspect: Former Greek Partisan Fighter

Intrigue +1; Big Swiss Bank Account

STUNTS: Deep Cover: Use Deceive for Provoke/Rapport when in disguise; Die Another Day: Fate point to concede after defense; Little Black Book: When in a new town, etc. Contacts v. +4 to gain contact-based aspect with free invoke, can trade invoke for second aspect;

MEGA-STUNT (1940s): Pikros (MAS-205); Function: Fast Torpedo Boat; Flaw: Seen Better Days; Fast Boat — +2 to overcome with vehicles in chase; Smuggling Hold — +2 to defend against searches.

MAScamo

MEGA-STUNT (1950s): Ariel, Function: 60′ Yacht; Flaw: Wind-Powered; Smuggler’s Hold — +2 to defend against searches; A Beautiful Boat — +2 to create social aspect with Rapport when Ariel is involved.

sylphe under spi 1

STRESSES: Physical: 3, Mental: 3

Major John Nolan, USAR, OSI

This is a post-war version of Nolan, now working for the new Office of Scientific Intelligence.

Concept Aspect: Cold Warrior; Omega Aspect: Same war, different tactics…

MODES: Secret Agent +3: Contacts +5, Deceive, Notice, Vehicles +4; Aspect: Protecting the free world.

Soldier +2: Will +3; Aspect: Things were simpler during the war…

Banter +1; Aspect: The truth is complicated…

STUNTS: Cover Story: Use Deceive to defend against interrogation; Mega-Stunt Gear: 1/volume, can spend a point to have high tech gear with a rating no higher than his Contacts; Got It Off a Nazi Officer…: +1 to combat with a Weapon 1 (Walther P-38 9mm); Signature Aspect: Our Best Man…; Shake It Off: 1/scene, can check two physical stress boxes & add values, then soak that number of physical shifts.

STRESSES: Physical: 3, Mental: 3

Nigel Rainey

Concept Aspect: Cat Burglar Turned Spy; Omega Aspect: Better than prison…

MODES — Intrigue +3: Notice +5, Athletics, Burglary, Contacts, Deceive, Stealth +4; Aspect: I thought you were in jail…

Secret Agent +2: Vehicles +3; Aspect: Jet-Setter

Actions +1; Aspect: Combat means you screwed up.

STUNTS: Come Alone: +2 to overcome w/ contacts when alone & meeting contact; Deep Cover: Use Deceive for Rapport or Provoke when under cover; Didn’t See Me Coming: Use Stealth for Combat when your target is unaware of you; Master Plan: Allies can invoke an aspect you’ve made at +3; Second Story job: +2 Athletics for climbing.

STRESSES: Physical: 4, Mental: 2

 Richard Crichton

Concept Aspect: The Wheelman; Omega Aspect: Adventure is Calling!

MODES: Wheelman +3: Notice, Vehicles+5, Contacts, Mechanic +4; Aspect: If it’ll start, I can drive it.

Action +2: Athletics +3; Aspect: Race care driver

Intrigue +1; Aspect: High Profile is my cover

STUNTS: Bar Room Brawler: +2 Combat using fists; Just a Good Ol’ Boy: +2 with Vehicles to create aspect with stunt maneuver; Peddle to the Metal: +2 vehicle to overcome in a chase; Quick! Turn Here!: In a chase, use Vehicle for Stealth to hide from pursuer; Rev’ It: Use Vehicle for Provoke to intimidate with a vehicle.

STRESSES: Physical: 3, Mental: 2

Some of the characters done up for the WWII flashbacks for the upcoming campaign…

Captain John Nolan, USAR

Nolan commands a small team of “action scientists” in Echo Company, of the Strategic Science Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Much of E Co.’s work had been in Europe, but with the Germans out of the fight, they find themselves facing the notorious Japanese Unit 723 and their Division X!

Concept Aspect: Combat Engineer; Omega Aspect: When all this is over…

MODES — Soldier +3: Notice +5, Athletics, Combat, Physique, Tactics, Vehicles, Will +4; Aspect: Violence First, Science Later

Science! +2: Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer +3; Aspect: Been on some big projects…

Action +1; Aspect: From a Tough Neighborhood

STUNTS: Battlefield Commander: Any of his team that can hear his order gain +2 when put in harm’s way; Remember your Training: Get +3 when invoking enemy’s aspect or complications; This is My Rifle: +2 to combat with military weapons; This is my Gun (Thompson .45): Weapon 2; Shake It Off!: 1/scene, check two physical stress boxes and add values; soak this number of shifts physical harm.

STRESSES: Physical: 4, Mental: 3

Lieutenant Sebastian Koch, USAR

Concept Aspect: Enthusiastic New Guy; Omega Aspect: Is that a German Accent?

MODES — Science! +3: Biology, Will +5, Chemistry, Notice, Zoology +4; Aspect: ABD, Scrips Institute

Action +2: Athletics, Provoke +3; Aspect Family Escaped the Nazis in ’38

Banter +1; Well-Educated

STUNTS: Charismatic: Use Will for a Banter skill to overcome in social conflict; Chicago Typewriter: +1 combat with the weapon, Weapon 1; Grew Up Around Boats: +2 Vehicle to create/overcome aspect with boats in a chase; Publish or Perish: Gains +3 when using a brainstorm aspect he created; Widely Read: Fate point to use Will for a science skill for one scene.

STRESSES: Physical: 3, Mental: 3

Lieutenant Reed Smith, USN

The young and handsome commander of a PT boat put at the SSD’s disposal.

Concept Aspect: PT Boat Commander; Omega Aspect: First Heroics, Then Politics!

MODES — Officer +3: Athletics, Combat, Contacts, Notice, Physique, Vehicles, Will +4; Aspect: Sailed the America’s Cup

Banter +2: Provoke +3; Aspect: Rhode Island Royalty

Action +1; Played Football for Yale

STUNTS: Just a Little Chop: +2 Vehicles to overcome in bad weather; Passionate Orator: Use Will for Banter skill when addressing a large group; She’ll Hold together: Any vehicle he pilots gains an Armor 2; Skull & Bones: When in a new place, Contacts v. +4 to create a contact-based aspect. Can trade a free invoke for a second aspect;

MEGA-STUNT — PT-111 (“Trip Aces”): Function: PT Boat; Flaw; Limited Range; Aspects: Torpedo Boat — Weapon 4; Weapon 5 at a cost; Fast B*@#$: +2 to overcome with a vehicle in a chase.

STRESSES:  Physical: 4, Mental: 4

AMM3 Leslie Rook, WAVES

Concept Aspect: Ms. Fix-It; Omega Aspect: Just as good as a man!

MODES — Gearhead +3: Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering +5, Electrical Engineering, Vehicles, Will +4; Aspect: Machines are Easy, People are Hard!

Banter +2: Provoke +3; Sugar & Spice, and Everything Documented

Action +1; Mean Right Hook.

STUNTS: Chewing Gum & Bailing Wire: Fate point reduces vehicle consequence 1 step for  one scene, but consequence increases two steps after until recovery; Improvisational Genius: 1 free benie on create/modify an invention or vehicle; Girls Talk: When in a new post, Contacts v. +4 to have a contact-based aspect, can trade free invoke for a second aspect; She’ll Hold Together: Any vehicle she worked or works on has an Armor 2; Tool Kit: +1 to create/overcome with engineering.

STRESSES: Physical: 2, Mental: 3

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