Time to see if our work has paid off. We have characters. We have a setting (-ish) Time to wreak some havoc!
If you've been keeping up, you may have noticed that I haven't included any gear for these guys. For the moment, we'll be using the gauss weapons and body armor from Ultra-Tech, but I don't expect to be using them for long. Partly because I want to make stuff specific to the setting and partly because I would like to actually post the stats, which I can't do with anything official from SJG.
Another thing you may have also noticed is that I'm only using the Basic Set, Ultra-Tech, and Space for the moment (though I kinda broke that when I used Power-Ups 3: Talents, for Isa. Whoops.) If I'm being honest, I'm only using Combat Lite from the Basic Set - Characters book to avoid all of the overhead of GURPS' standard tactical combat. That said, time to dive in.
1. Scenario 1: Cheesing it!
Hal, Isa, and Jose were busy infiltrating a hideout for a local gang that's been getting too uppity lately. Unfornately, our trio needs to make a quick escape now that the gang has caught on and a couple of gangers with guns are on their way.
Ganger (35 points)
ST: 12 
DX: 11 
IQ: 10 
HT: 11 
Bully (CR:12) [-10]
Sadism (CR: 12) [-15]
Brawling-12 (DX+1) 
Carousing-12 (HT+1) 
Guns(Pistol)/TL10-11 (DX) 
Guns(Shotgun)/TL10-11 (DX) 
Intimidation-10 (Will) 
Wrestling-11 (DX) 
Isa is working furiously to hack a door open that closed as she and her compatriots, Hal, and Jose were making their escape. She's nestled in the shallow alcove the recess is in and has some cover from shots made from down the hall but not within a few feet of the alcove. Hal and Jose are watching her back with gauss pistols (UT 142). They also have cover, but not as much and it disappears when the bad guys get within five feet. All three of them are wearing nanoweave vests (UT 172). One of the gangers in the place is cackling about all of the horrible things they'll be doing to their corpses, providing a -4 to all hearing-based Perception rolls while the gloomy lighting makes for a -2 on sight based Perception rolls. The two gangers coming to kill them are armed with gauss shotgun pistols (UT 142) because those little 4mm purse-poppers are for wusses.
"Is he ever going to shut up," Hal snarls as he peers into the gloom of the poorly lit hallway. His hands tremble a little as he partly listens to the sickening description of what's going to happen to their family jewels the ganger on the intercom system was giving in enthusiastic detail.
"Quiet and stay sharp," Jose commands, his musical baritone a growling avalanche.
"What's my talking going to do that the maniac on the PA isn't doing now?"
"Distract me for one," Isa mutters as she furiously types commands on her 'deck.
Hal grumbles under his breath as he returns his attention to the Hallway.
1.2. Round 1
Hal and Jose are making Perception rolls at a -2 for the gloom. The gangers, unbeknownst to our intrepid trio, are trying to get the drop on Hal and Jose. Words gotten out that there's a woman among the intruders and they want her. For what I leave as an exercise to the reader. Fortunately for our Trio, the odds are in their favor since stealth and planning aren't exactly qualities that are common among these yahoos. Meanwhile, Isa is busy trying to open the door which is locked with a computer-operated bolt. We'll say that there's a -4 penalty for rushing and nerves, but the lock software isn't really any more advance or secure than the average app on a phone, so no penalties there. each attempt takes 3 seconds.
The gangers roll for their Stealth which defaults to DX-5 or !Q-5. We'll go with DX in this case since they aren't trying to hide, but trying to move quietly and without being seen. Both gangers need to roll a 6 or lower. Ganger 1 rolls a 10 and Ganger 2 rolls an 11. Both of them fail. They were coming from Hal's side of the hallway.
"Jose! We've got trouble," the ex-cop shouts as he lets off a burst.
Hal is not aiming so no accuracy bonus for him. He's firing at full rate of fire, so he can hit his target up to three times. The gangers are 30 feet/10 yards away, so he has a -4 for range. His base skill is 12, so he needs an 8 or lower to hit. He rolls a 9 and misses ganger 1 with all three rounds. He has 37 rounds left.
Jose hears the warning and swivels around and takes careful aim at ganger 1.
Isa hears the staccato beat of Hal's pistol and needs to make a Will roll to not freeze. She needs a 12 or lower and rolls a 12. She jumps and her heart begins to thunder in her chest, but her mind isn't gibbering in fear just yet and she rolls for Computer Hacking to see if she can get the door open While she has Lockpicking, I'm going to say that she needs to hack the lock since it is computer controlled and not a purpose-built electronic lock. She has a base skill of 15, so she needs an 11 or lower to do this in only a few seconds, but she rolls a 14 and fails to crack the lock. She'll be out for the next two rounds.
The gangers, surprised at being spotted flinch at the incoming fire, then rush down the hall with guns blazing. Ganger 1 is aiming at Hal while ganger 2 is aiming at Jose. They have a base skill of 12. Both Jose and Hal have some cover, so -2 to hit them. The range is 10 yards, so another -4. They are also shooting and moving with shotgun pistols that are Bulk -3. The need a 3 to hit either of them and roll a 6 and a 5 respectively. (Though to be fair, I probably should have had them roll to see if they were stunned/surprised/whatever GURPS calls freezing up in the heat of combat. I justify not doing it by saying they are street thugs and more than a little crazy.) They move five yards closer and are now only 5 yards away.
1.3. Round 2
"SWEET JAY-SUS!" Hal's voice goes shrill as shot streaks past him.
Now we are going into proper combat rounds. Order is determined by Basic Speed and Jose has the highest at 6. The thugs go next with a 5.5. Hal and Isa are last with a 5.25.
Jose aimed last time and is firing a burst at ganger 1. He has a base skill of 16. His opponent is 5 yards away, so a -2 for range. He aimed, so he gets the pistol's accuracy of 3. He needs a 17 or lower to hit and rolls a 15. His gun's RCL is 2 so he hits twice. Ganger 1 takes a total of 8 damage after wounding modifiers. He's down to 4 HP and probably rethinking the wisdom of closing in.
Now it's the gangers' turn. Ganger 1 has just realized he's done goofed and is going to limp away. His Basic Speed and Dodge are halved, so he manages to get a partly 2 yards away. Ganger 2 skids to a halt and fires at Jose with blood in his eye. Everything is the same as it was from the last round except that he only has a -2 from the range and he isn't moving so he doesn't get the -3 from the Bulk of his shotgun pistol either. He has to roll a 8 or less to hit. He rolls an 11 and misses.
Hal returns fire and shoots another burst, this time for ganger 2. He has a skill of 12. His target's 5 yards away, so a -2 from the range. He needs to roll a 10 or less and rolls a 12, missing again.
Isa is indisposed for another round.
1.4. Round 3
Jose, cool as a cucumber fires a burst at ganger 2. He has a skill of 16. The range is still 5 yards, so a -2 from that. He needs a 14 or less and rolls a 4! The three rounds punch through ganger 2's face and turn his brain to grey goo.
Ganger 1 continues to limp away and whimpers a little as he hears his buddy go down. He's now 9 yards away.
Hal, being a callous man fires a few more rounds at ganger 1. He has a skill of 12 and the range is 9 yards for a -3. He needs a 9 and rolls a 10.
Isa can act next round.
I think I'm going to call it here. The last ganger is running and Jose's good enough that he can kill him before he can get away.
It's clear that I probably need to implement the BAD and goon rules from Action 2: Exploits to make this a little snappier. Gun-Fu might not be out of the question either. Still, it ran fairly quickly. I also need to see how non-combat actions work while in combat because I honestly pulled the 3 rounds thing out of thin air. Over all it works, though. I think the gauss weapons are way underpowered though. I rolled a total of 17 points of damage and that got bumped down to 8 because of the wounding modifier. Ganger 1 was hurting, but I think he should have been down after taking two rounds. I guess I could say that they are a step up, pi instead of pi-, but I don't know enough about how that's figured to feel comfortable doing that. I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and buy GURPS Vehicles 3e and work on coverting stuff to 4e on that.
2. Scenario 2: Swanky Dinner
This scenario is going to test some of the social interactions between characters. I picked a swanky dinner because it leaves poor Isa totally out of her depth. We'll say that our trio is trying to find out what happened to Mao Li Wen, a famous scientist whose gone missing in the last several months and is suspected of being in the Delta. There are several suspects and possible informants here. Rather than trying to stat them our as I did the gangers in the first scenario, I'm just gonna say they have relevant skills at X. This should keep me from going too bonkers. :P
We have four suspects:
- Giuseppe Armani who has his relevant skills at 13
- Shao Ru with relevant skills at 12
- Melissa Daimler with relevant skills at 12
- and Dai Yang who is less experienced than the others and has her skills at 9
The informants have relevant skills at 10. There are several of them, but they are all essentially the same. We can leave things there, but I want to spice things up a little and throw some potential trouble. One of the guests is the spoiled daughter of one of the Faces' heads, Vicky Talon. She's rich, pretty, and knows it. Her tendency to bully those of lesser status makes her quite unpopular with most of the Delta's elite, but she has managed to amass a following of similarly-aged men and women who are similarly shallow and callous. She has her relevant skills at 11 and she's out for blood tonight. Fun!
All of the guests are currently in the ballroom of Don Lombardi's palatial residence. He's throwing this soiree to mark his 50th wedding anniversary, and anybody who's anybody in the system has shown up, including Jose Ramirez III, who has brought along two guests, Hal Horace and Isa Lao. They know that people suspected of kidnapping Mao Li Wen are at the party, but they don't know who. For that, they'll have to talk to people that know and convince them to give up their information. I'll be rolling reaction rolls for our trio, and this brings me to something I want to address about Hal. He has the Bully and Lecherousness disadvantages and both of those as written give minuses to reaction rolls. I could rule that the penalties apply only when around people who know him or of him, which makes sense, but then the question becomes how would I determine that? Another option would be to require that he have a secret and then just note who knows that secret when it gets out. But then the question becomes when does Secret get replaced with other disadvantages? I asked and it seems that having a high control number would work. This lessens the value of the disadvantages, but it does make sense since it's not as much of a disadvantage if you can hide it when need be. :)
So, Hal won't be getting his just desserts just yet. Jose is fairly well known as the scion of the Ramirez family. He'll be getting some bonuses on reaction rolls thanks to his family and his charisma. Isa is the only one that will be out of her depth. She's a street urchin who grew up to be a hacker and she didn't pick up high-society manners along the way. Naturally, she's the one most likely to get into trouble this evening.
2.2. Feeling out the crowd
Hal, wanting to get the business over with so he can find some company this evening suggests splitting up to cover ground more quickly. Isa, much less comfortable in such opulent company wants to stick together.
"Look, if you want to possibly let our suspect slip through, be my guest," Hal hisses in a voice barely audible over the soft music and the surusu of conversation, "I'll be finding out where Dr. Mao's been squirreled away while you be useless to us."
He smiles, though his eyes remain cold, and says in a more genial and much louder tone, "Nonsense! I'm certain that any young man would be delighted to dance with you! Have fun now." Before Isa can protest, he heads towards the wet bar nestled under a sweeping balcony.
"Don't worry," Jose assures her, "I'll be close by and keeping an eye on things."
"Thanks. I appreciate it," Isa mutters before looking up at her taller companion. "Why does Hal have to be a jerk all the time?"
Jose lips tighten into a thin line as he shrugs expansively, a rare look of being at a loss.
"I dunno, mi pequeña flor. Just relax and enjoy yourself. He and I will find what we need," he replies, giving her a crooked smile. "Besides, I think that young man over their is smitten by you," he adds before grinning and gently nudging her towards a young man with a pleasant face and silky hair that has been artfully styled. Isa starts to protest, but sees a few people already approaching Jose. She sighs and heads off towards the young fop he'd pointed out.
2.2.1. Jose and the Courtiers
The Courtiers are a trio from a smaller family looking to get into the Ramirezes' good graces. Jose rolls Current Affairs (People)-11 and gets a 10. Jose recognizes them as the leaders of the Three Blades Syndicate, a subordinate organization to the Lombardi family that has recently caused a bit of trouble for the Lombardis after injuring a lieutenant from another family that the Lombardis were negotiating with. They aren't quite beyond the pale, but they are on thin ice according to the rumors. Jose can't just blow them off, but talking to them for any length of time could be bad as well. Pleasantries are exchanged and Jose tries to get from the three of them. He rolls Savior-Faire (High Society)-12 to try disengaging from them politely. This is partially to influence them into not causing a scene or feeling resentful, so he gets to add his Charisma bonus of +2 and since he's the scion of a well known family, he doesn't have to worry about status penalties. He needs a 14 or less and gets a 9.
"I'm terribly sorry to have to cut this meeting short, but I'm afraid that Fredrick Holm over there wishes to speak with me," he apologies with becoming grace before giving them a polite bow, "Perhaps we can continue our conversation some other time?"
With the first obstacle overcome, Jose moves on to hopefully get started on the night's mission.
2.2.2. Hal and Susan Davey
Hal does a quick scan of the bar and finds the most attractive woman there, a blonde bombshell with legs for days dressed in a silky black dress that covers without hiding a thing. Hal's imagination goes into overdrive as he sidles up to the place next to her and orders a couple of drinks, one for him and one for the lady who introduces herself as Susan Davey.
"Here alone," he asks as he sips his whiskey and begins plying her with small talk.
Now we roll a reaction roll for Susan. Hal is Handsome and has Charisma 3 (again, very good at hiding his flaws.) Susan finds him attractive so he has a bonus of +7 thanks to those traits. Social Chameleon takes care of any Status penalties, and he's behaving like a gentleman so far, so he doesn't suffer from the penalties for Lecherousness and Bully. Now, he is pursuing the desires of his libido, so we won't make him roll self control rolls just yet. She rolls a Very Good reaction and opens up to Hal, giving him any information he wants, even volunteering some when he "lets slip" why he's here. He does want to see her later and rolls Sex Appeal to seduce her. He rolls against a 12 plus another 7 from his attractiveness and genuine charisma for a 19, and gets a 12. Sultry looks, flushing cheeks, yatta, yatta. We know Hal's getting laid tonight.
The information he gets from Susan gives him a +3 to find an informant. He rolls Perception to pick them out and needs a 16. he rolls a 15 and spots someone that looks likely, but will need to navigate across the hall to talk to him.
2.2.3. Isa and Jackson
Isa, meanwhile, nervously makes her way over to the young man she'd been ushered to by Jose earlier. She has ever right to be. She lacks Hal's charm and wit and Jose's status, so she does have to deal with reaction penalties for Status. She's not particularly attractive, nor does she have the others' charisma. The young man, Jackson, is from a fairly wealthy family that is a major part of the Lombardi's organization. We'll say he has Status 2 for the sake of argument. Isa has Status 0 (though thinking on it, she should have a lower status than that) and it shows. She's gawking at the grandeur of the ballroom and moving as nervously as a mouse in a room full of sleeping cats. All told, he's reacting at a -2 to her. He rolls reaction as gets a Bad reaction, hoo-boy!
"Well, it appears that someone has mistaken a rat for a person," he says loudly, getting the attention of everyone, and expecially Vicky Talon, as he begins to mock Isa. Isa stammers through an apology and begins desperately looking for Jose or even Hal. Her Perception roll is 12 and she gets a 9. She spots Jose walking away from the three people he was dealing with earlier and begins to make her way towards him.
Well, well, well, Not even ten minutes in and we're having a grand ol' time. :)
2.2.4. An Intermission
Part of me is tempted to call it here, but we really haven't gotten into any real exchanges where the people are either trying to pry information loose while not giving up their own secrets or where people are having a good back and forth as they jockey for favor and dominance. I think I'll continue this for another round, but I can already see that this is going to need work. I think I need to find some resources on social engineering and verbal dueling, but that will have to wait until the next iteration.
Enough blabbing for now though, it's time to see what Hal is up to.
2.3. Gathering Information
Hal finds a mousy-looking man with beady-eyes and coke bottle spectacles, an anachornism in an age where such defeciencies are easily corrected. He's one of the informants that the PCs can talk to so he's got his relevant skills at 10. Isa is currently in full retreat seeking some help from Jose who's far more used to the sort of petty backbiting that can go on at thses kinds of parties. Jose has not yet noticed that Isa is in trouble, but he did say he'd be keeping an eye on Isa and come to her aid if needed. And of course, we have Vick Talon entering the fray.
2.3.1. Hal and Mauser
Hal once again introduces himself and initiates the conversation. Unlike last time where he was talking to an attractive woman, He's talking to a man that's more on the ugly side. Worse, it's someone that appears to be weaker than Hal. He'll have to make two Self Control Rolls, one to keep his eyes and attention form wandering while the other is to keep from giving in to the temptation to strong arm the information from the man. The mousey man goes by the name Mauser. He'll be rolling a reaction roll at a +3 since he isn't attracted to men.
Hal rolls for Self Control. He needs to get a 12 for each and gets a 10 and a 6. He manages to remain polite and attentive.
Mauser rolls his Reaction Roll for Hal and Hal gets a good reaction. This is good becauase Mauser will be answering any questions truthfully and accurately.
Hal engages in some small talk and gradually steers the conversation towards the topic of the missing Dr. Mao. This is potentially dangerous information to give out, so Mauser is reluctant to answer the questions, though he does make it clear that he's worried for both his safety and Hal's.
"You seem like a nice enough fellow," Mauser says, "I would like to help you, but I have to be mindful of my own standing. Some of the people involved may not appreciate me talking or you finding out."
Hal will need to convince Mauser that he can trust him to not let the others know who spilled the beans. Diplomacy is the best option and Hal is still being a gentleman, so he goes for that. He has Diplomacy-13, and Charisma gets him another +3. He rolls a 7 (Oh so close to a crit) and manages to convince Mauser he's not going to get into trouble. Mauser gives in, though it is reluctantly ("I just don't want anything to happen to such an upstanding guy...") and Hal has the info he needs to begin looking for Dr. Mao's kidnapper.
2.3.2. Jose, Isa, and Vicky
Before I dive into this, I want to say that I'm not sure this is the best way to go about it. Essentially, I'll be playing this by having the two characters competing to influence the others around them. It might work. It might even be the way Social engineering suggests doing it (I haven't read through the whole thing, only a little bit.) I just don't know. So if this part seems a little, or a lotta, wonky, that's why. We'll be fixing that up in the next iteration in any case.
Vicky appears out of the crowd and starts to heckle Isa. Part of this is probing. She's looking for what is really going to hurt the poor techie, but she's also trying to get the crowd on her side. She has a reputation as a catty person, which nets her a -2 on the roll, and while Complementary Rolls would help, we're not actually using any sources that have those. She' just going to have to live with that.
Jose, meanwhile, enjoys his status as a scion of a well respected family, That'll be enough to net him a +1 from the crowd. He's trying to get Vicky to back off and get the crowd on his side to help with that.
Isa is mainly passive in this scene. She's hiding behind Jose and is out of place, and she knows it, She's suffering a -2 on will rolls to resist Vicky's attempts to bully her.
Vicky goes first, rolling against Intimidation and Body Language to gauge the effects of her barbs. She also needs to roll Diplomacy as well to get the crowd on her side. Her relevant skills are at 11, but her Diplomacy is effectively 9. She rolls a 13 for her Intimidation, a 7 for her Body Language, and a 9 for her Diplomacy. The crowd has an average Will of 10 and rolled an 8. Normally, we'd roll a reaction and use the better of the two, but I think that's just going to get in the way in this instance.
So, Vicky's barb fell flat, and she can tell it did because Isa's now just giving her a funny look. Worse, from her perspective, her attempts to get the crowd on her side have not succeeded as she'd hoped. They aren't against her, yet, but there's definitely some muttering.
Jose is going to be rolling Intimidate against Vicky and Diplomacy against the crowd. He gets a +1 to the Diplomacy roll. He needs a 7 and a 12 respectively. He rolls an 11 and a 10. The crowd rolls a 10 on their Will.
Jose's attempt at getting Vicky to back off fails, but he manages to get the crowd on his side. The mutterings grow louder and more wide-spread and Vicky finds herself needing to decide if she should retreat or press on.
With that, I think I'm going to wrap up this little playtest.
I need to read Social Engineering and work out the mechanics for this sort of thing. Action 2: Exploits is also going to be added to the list of materials I need to draw from. I think that this worked... well worked-ish. Part of it was not being familiar with the rules, but another part of it is that there's not a lot about this kind of social combat, if I can call it that. This is new territory for me because there isn't scope for this in the system I have the most experience in, D20/Pathfinder. You basically roleplay it out and then everyone rolls, or everyone rolls and you might roleplay it out. There isn't a back and forth or room for the kinds of things I did here.
3. All the Conclusions.
The next iteration is going to be focusing a lot on streamlining the mechanics and getting the rules down. This works, but there are gaps and Isa would have been little more than a spectator for the exchange between Jose and Vicky since she could do nothing to really help influence the crowd. That can be an issue. I also need to look at how non-combat tasks work in combat situations. Isa's player would have been sitting around for two rounds with nothing to roll for or anything to do because of what she was doing. Snappy combat can help keep the player from sitting out too long, but I would like to encourage players to participate every round, even if it's only to describe what they're doing. I think that's more on the GMing side of things though and not really something that I need to tackle here.
All in all, I think the rules work and there's room to improve and expand. I'm going to call this iteration done and work on Iteration 2 after I clear some stuff off my plate. I'd post a reflection on this iteration, but there's not much to reflect on. Anyway, stay tuned for more of the Delta in the future.