It was hard not to make the standard "Electric Bugaloo" joke in the title. :D

Anyway, here's the first post of the Delta's second iteration. I'm not going to be adding much in the way or lore, but I do hope to make a more playable and fun version of the mechanics as well as opening up options for the GM and the players. That said, let's get cracking.

The scope of this iteration is strictly improving the character options, working on electromagnetic guns (namely bringing them up to snuff), and looking at rules from Action and Social Engineering to potentially introduce. My goals are to have a set of weapons for characters to choose from, a set of of packages for players to pick from while building their characters, and a set of options for both cybernetically and biologically enhancing characters. I also want there to be a set of easy to understand rules covering both action scenes and the more roleplay heavy social scenes.

While it may seem like a lot, I think that using Action 2 and Action 4 will cut down on a lot of the work. Social Engineering is new territory, so that will likely be more of an exploration to see what could work and what won't. I'll be limiting the options from Bio-Tech and Ultra-Tech for now to keep things from getting too crazy. I'll also be looking at the core activities I listed in the Building a Framework post to see if there's any changes I'd like to make there.

One of the things I am definitely going to be reworking is the point totals for characters. Currently, the plan is to run this through two sub iterations with the first one being standard Action with 250/-50 characters and the second being 250/-75 characters to see how things work out. This is subject to change once I've started working on adding cybernetics and biological modifications in earnest in the next iteration, which will probably be more tech focused.

Taken all together, this is what the plan for this iteration is looking like:

  • Evaluate and choose rules to add from Action 2
  • Evaluate and choose rules to add from Social Engineering
  • Evaluate and modify skill packages from Action 4
  • Character rebuilds and testing
    • Using 250/-50 points
      • Rebuild Hal Horace
      • Rebuild Isa Lao
      • Rebuild Jose Ramirez III
      • Playtest
        • Action Scenes
        • Social Scenes
        • Sample Session?
    • Using 250/-75 points
      • Rebuild Hal Horace
      • Rebuild Isa Lao
      • Rebuild Jose Ramirez III
      • Playtest
        • Action Scenes
        • Social Scenes
        • Sample Session?
  • Evaluate and test cybernetic and biological modifications
    • Pick low cost options from both books
    • Build sample characters
      • Build bio modded character
      • Build cyber modded character
      • Playtest
        • Action Scenes
        • Social Scenes
        • Sample Session?
  • Redo Gauss and Rail weapons.
    • Test updated weapons in previous action scenes.

I saved the weapons modifications for last since we'll have more examples to look at for comparison and to see how the weapons would have affected the outcome. Most of the rest could be in any order, but I tried to apply some logic to this, so we'll see how this works out. I look forward to seeing how this works out and what all of y'all think. Until then,

Later Space Cowboy!

I recently posted a thought experiment turned rouch mechanic called BAI (Basic Abstract Incompentence). It was the result of a hole I saw in Action 2: Exploits when it was explaining how BAD worked. So far, it appears that people like the idea, but Mailanka brought up a point on the Unofficial GURPS DIscord Server's #blogging channel that got me thinking. He mentioned that this would work wonderfully for lower level games, like playing a bunch of Scooby-Doo type sleuths, and that there wasn't much official support at low levels. Action, Monster Hunters, and Dungeon Fantasy assume that characters are generally competent in several areas and hypercompetent in their specialty. Action and Dungeon Fantasy both assume at least 200 points and Monster Hunters starts characters at a whopping 400 points. Skills are regular in the 14 to 16 range for primary skills and secondaries can be just as high. The Basic Set states that a professional would have a Skill Level of 12 in their skills while those who are often in combat or other stressful situations would have their professional skills up to 14. Masters of a skill, the guys that are at the peak of human ability, might have a skill as high as 16 to 18 with those that are truly geniuses maybe reaching 19. People that skilled are rare, like once or twice in a century rare.

There's nothing wrong with playing hypercompetent characters. It can be fun, and fun's the name of the game. But there's a whole side of GURPS that really hasn't been explored that could offer a lot of possibilities for both veterans and beginners. GMs and players could introduce them to GURPS by having them play in a 100-point, or heck, even a 50-point or 25-point one-shot that lets them quickly build a character and get a feel for the system. Those same characters could be the starting points of some rising heros' journeys, or just one more unfortunate victim of the players' twisted glee as they are merciless slaughtered by a carnivorous bunny in a labyrinth. Low point characters don't have to be relegated to horror or humor either. A GM could run a game based off any genre or setting with 100 or 75 point characters and explore the lives of the common folk as they try to survive in a world that has all of those hypercompetent characters.

So, why do I care about this? Well, I think it can be an interesting place to explore and work on ideas that I have. It could also be an interesting set of character options for the Delta setting. I could see a game with 100-point characters working in that setting. if I plan things right and think through the consequences of what I'm introducing. It could also give me something to work on and post while doing my due diligence on more serious posts and keep things updating. In the end, it really comes down to it interests me and I think I can write interesting things about it.

In any case, I'll see y'all next time!

Now that I'm through the first iteration, there's a few questions I must ask myself.

No, not the meaning of life or why I'm writing this.

I mean questions like what worked, What needs work, and where do I go from here. Let's see if I've learned anything and lay out what I need to do in Iteration 2.

Short one for today, but I had a thought while reading through Action 2: Exploits and I had a thought about "Negative" BAD. For those that don't know, BAD stands for Basic Abstract Difficulty. It's a tool for Action game GMs to use when determining how difficult something is and generally applies over the whole mission. It is also the basis for quickly creating mooks that can be used to populate the forces that will inevitably get mowed down by the heros.

Or mow the heros down if there's enough of them to get some lucky shots or if their BAD is high enough.

Anyway, the BAD modifier runs from 0 to -10 while mook characters mad using the BAD have skills from 10 to 20 based on the BAD. Skills, though can be lower than 10 and its possible to have positive modifiers due to conditions instead of negative ones. This lead me to wonder about "Negative" BAD. What if the guys your PCs were going up against were so inept that the PCs would have to really screw up to fail? Obviously, this would be out of line in a serious campaign or adventure, but one that has moments of humor or just runs on the Rule of Funny could make use of this and it could make for a interesting twist if the players are freaking out about bad rolls and then wondering what's going on when they still succeed.

Calling it "Negative" BAD is a mouthful, though, so we need another name. Since this is basically a measure of gross incompetence, we can call it Basic Abstract Incompetence, or BAI. The BAI rating goes from 1 to 5 and the skill level of any mooks in the organization or compound is 10 - BAI. BAI also changes for the same reasons as BAD, because even utter incompetents are likely to wise up if they find their co-workers piled into a heap of groaning bodies or bleeding corpses. It is possible to mix BAI and BAD. BAI would either be applied to one or two groups in an overall competent organization, and BAD would apply to one or two groups in an overall incompetent organization. A good example of this happened in the first season of Star Wars Rebels. The local imperial forces were generally lackluster and incompetently lead, so they would have had a BAI rating. The Inquisitors or Thrawn and his entourage would have a BAD rating, however, since they are generally competent and dangerous.

How this would work is that the BAI (BAD) rating would apply in most cases, but the BAD (BAI) rating would apply when the (in)competent group gets involved, or the (in)competent group and the PCs cross paths. When the switch happens is up to the GM, but generally the greater the difference between the two ratings, the sooner it should happen. For example, say a group of PCs is infiltrating a poorly managed base with a BAI of 2. Visiting the base is Colonel Bloodbath and his entourage with a BAD of -2. The BAI 2 is replaced with BAD -2 when the PCs cross paths. This could be the two groups passing within close proximity, the more competent group noticing that something's amiss, or the more competent group beginning to impose their will on the location/organization. If the BAI was 1 or the BAD was -1 or 0 or both, then this wouldn't happen unless the two groups were close or the PCs were being fairly blase about their sneaking. If the BAI was higher, the BAD higher, or both, then this would occur with more separation or on smaller mistakes and slip ups. One way to determine if the more competent group notices is by looking at the PCs' skill rolls. If the roll succeeded because of the BAI, then the GM could decide that the more competent group has noticed something amiss and begin looking into it.

As I said, this one's a short one. It's an interesting idea and I hope some of the people around will mess with it and share how it goes.

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