Small Dino Hunting – a set of fixed rules

I worked up these rules for a game derived from Rifts Australia.

It doesn’t cover stats for PC’s or weapons. But it does cover the conflict very well, for plugging those stats into it. And the book has those sorts of details and I was too slack to do some sort of page pointing set of instructions.

Though the basic weapon is the air powered (pneumatic) crossbow at 3D6 damage. I think I’ll have a poisoned bolt for it just do one mega damage to a small dino, by default, rather than having to roll as the following text describes. The handling time and whiff of rolling to hit, then rolling damage, and potentially doing nothing after all that just seems too off in the real world effort/real world result ratio. Even for a roleplay game!

The rules for aim points aren’t too clear either, but if you wish to you could figure them out from the text. Apart from the loose ends, I find it encapsulates an exciting fight!

With no further ado…

Small Dinosaur Hunting

After spotting a dino/it’s marks

* GM secretly rolls it’s MDC (3D6 MDC), and describes it’s size based on how much MDC it has. Players determine if they whish to take it on or find another dino/activity to pursue, instead.

* Characters construct a fortification some distance away from the dino. Which involves the following components and in the following order, the first being in the dino’s general direction.
o Stumble pit (10% chance the dino will by chance leap over/skip this)
o Spike wall (10% chance the dino will be able to deliberately leap this)
o First wooden gap wall
o Second wooden gap wall
o Simple wooden door for escape route
o Optional raw roach meat distraction (if you have roach meat), nailed to the escape door (the dino has to bite through it to get through)
o Flying fox escape route (long cables stretched from a nearby ladder and tree to one quite a distance away, with wheel and seat)

* Players can describe certain details of how they do this, to see if any advantage comes of doing so. For any player that says something, they get an aim point regardless of what they say. If what they say then or at a latter point seems to the GM as being effective, they get another ten aim points. This particular bonus can only be gained once per encounter.

Combat
* 8+ to hit.
* -1 to hit the dino when it’s running.
* It takes 10 SD with poisoned ammo to do 1 MD to the small dino. If less damage is rolled, but the strike roll was 15 or better, 1 MD is still inflicted by the attack.
* Do surprise attack shots first.
* Then roll initiative and do attacks as normal, but the dino’s attacks (4 attacks) are used on the following.
o One or two attacks spent running towards the players location (GM determines whether it’s one or two).
o Potentially one attack spent on falling in the stumble trap (10% chance of skipping it – if so, attack isn’t used and go straight to spike wall)
o Potentially one attack spent breaking through/jumping spike wall (10% chance of skipping it – if so, attack isn’t used and go straight to first gap wall)
Note: The dino can potentially skip both stumble pit and spike wall, and go on to destroy the first wall, all in one attack.
* When the dino has destroyed the first wall or on it’s next attack it will, players can choose whether to escape or hold their ground. If they choose to escape, they race over to the flying fox and start to glide out of there. Go to “Escape”.
o Aim points can be spent to get a bonus to hit. One aim point spent gives +2 to hit. Three aim points spent gives +4 to hit. You can’t spend more than three.
Hold Ground
* Players can describe how they approach this, to see if any advantage comes of doing so. For any player that says something, they get an aim point regardless of what they say. If what they did seems to the GM as being effective, they get another five aim points. This particular bonus can only be gained once per encounter.
* If they hold their ground, the dino takes an attack to get through each remaining wall.
* 8+ to hit in close combat (ranged weapons aren’t for close combat).
o The remaining wooden walls will use up one of the dino’s attack each.
o After that it targets one PC randomly and keeps attacking him (+0 to strike).
o If the dino’s attack is above it’s targets AR and the target dodges but fails to dodge, the target takes 4D6 SDC damage and it’s armour takes 1D4 MD.
o If the dino’s attack is above it’s targets AR and the target does not dodge, they take 1D4 MD. Which will kill them.
o A wild shot can be made after dodging, at -6 to hit.
o Aim points can be spent to reduce the penalty to hit with the wild shot (one aimed point gives +2 (making it -4 to hit) and three aim points give +4 (making it -2 to hit)).
o A character can opt to run to the flying fox, but the dino gets one free attacks on them as they do so. They may dodge but cannot make a wild shot (their action is spent climbing the ladder and kicking off).
o If one character goes down the flying fox, the dino will target the other. If the other goes down the flying fox latter, the first is treated as either being on the wire still or having made it end already (determined by the GM). If they are treated as having made it to the end they may make normal (not wild) shots at the dino as it pursues the other character coming down the wire(-1 to hit moving target). If the GM determines they are still on the wire when the other PC goes to escape, go to “Escape” as per normal (without the chance that roach meat in the fortification will distract the dino)
Escape (down the wire)
* If raw roach meat was left in the fortification, 90% of the time it will distract the Dino for long enough for the PC’s to get down the wire and away, escaping entirely (end of encounter).
* If no meat was used or the roll was 91-100% then flying fox combat ensues for one round.
* Players can describe how they approach the flying fox combat, to see if any advantage comes of doing so. For any player that says something, they get an aim point regardless of what they say. If what they did seems to the GM as being effective, they get another five aim points. This particular bonus can only be gained once per encounter.
* Then roll initiative and do attacks as a normal melee round, but the dino is chasing and cannot attack.
o Players can shoot wild at the Dino (-1 to hit moving target) AND drop a piece of raw roach meat if they have it and choose to do so.
o If they drop raw roach meat, there’s a 50% chance the dino will stop chasing them and grab the meat instead, disappearing into the forrest with it (no free shots as it leaves).
o Aim points can be spent to reduce the penalty to hit with the wild shot (one aimed point gives +2 (making it -4 to hit) and three aim points give +4 (making it -2 to hit)).
o After the ONE round has passed, they have gotten to the end of the line and the dino has caught up with them. Roll initiative, shots aren’t wild as the characters have left the wire and are on solid ground now. Combat works the same as “Holding Ground”, without the option to escape by flying fox!
o If the dino has pursued them this far and they can’t kill it, they are dead meat!

Amuses my dark sense of humour, anyway

Fiat and a working game

In a previous thread on infinite options, Guy asked me this:

Callan, I’m asking this seriously, because I think you know the answer.

So, how do people sit around and get a working game, even when someone decides to use fiat? How do they do it, not in theory, but in practice?

Let’s clarify ‘fiat’ first. Were not talking about the car. That’s good to clear up. 😉

But more seriously, in game you could have a rule that whether your dex bonus adds to your gun attack roll is up to the GM, on any given roll. It’s entirely up to him. This is often referred to as fiat. I’ll call this ‘choice fiat’.

In a contrasting situation, the rule might be that your dex bonus NEVER adds onto your gun attack roll (this is the rule in Rifts, btw), but the GM declares you add it on (which is happening in the game of Rifts I’m in at the moment). This too is often referred to as fiat. I’ll call this ‘override fiat’.

And since were having such fun with defintions (being sarcastic at myself here, to try and add some humour to defining stuff!), what is a ‘working game?’

Is it a working game where people stay at the table until the end and don’t talk about non table subjects too loudly or too often?

Or conversely, how would you define a non working game, Guy? People leaving the table? Harsh words exchanged? People with arms folded, cross expressions?

I’d say people can be genuinely smiling pleasantly, talking about game book related stuff and interacting, and the game can still not be a working game.

I’d also say that someone can be using override fiat and people can still be genuinely smiling pleasantly, talking about game book stuff and interacting.

Now, to actually try and answer your question! Ta da! I finally got there!

I would say that people sitting around, genuinely smilling pleasantly, talking about game book related stuff and interacting means something is working. Let’s call it X and say activity X is working.

And certainly a working game would involve this, I think.

Now if that’s enough for someone, for them to consider it a ‘working game’, then that’s what they consider a working game. And apparently override fiat fits into it.

But I’ll be cruel for a moment – if someone considers banging their head against a wall a ‘working game’, then for them, it is.

So one way of sitting around and getting a ‘working game’ when someone decides to use override fiat, is to lower your standards. Way down. Low enough to still call it working.

That’s one way of doing it, where ‘it’ is to have a working game with override fiat in it.

However, people will often present these ‘working games’ as evidence that override fiat is just fine.

But hell, almost anything is just fine if you lower your personal standards enough. Or your standards weren’t high to begin with – though we don’t all have to share the same standards, so that’s okay.

But by the same token, if someone presents a ‘working game’ to you with override fiat and tells you “it’s great”, it kind of demands you have the same level of standards as them. Because if your standard is higher, you really can’t agree with them and talk about it as if “it’s great”.

“Infinite options”

Infinite options in roleplay. And sometimes I see people say “You can do anything!”. Lets have a look at that.

It started here and since that thread was originally about before/after traits, I thought I’d split it.

Responding to Tommi’s post

Player playing single character would hence decide the course of action of the character in similar way to how people make decisions in real life: By gut reactions, assuming what would happen if a certain course of action were taken, seeking more information, just doing what one has always done. There is an essentially infinite amount of options in much the same way that I have essentially infinite amount of options: Right now, I could eat, go to sleep, play a number of computer games, do math exercises, jump out of window, start cleaning, or a huge number of other activities. I am assuming free will here.

GM (or everyone in some games) likewise considers what could happen, and picking one such course of action (or assigning probabilities and implementing a suitable stochastic process for selecting one of them) as what actually happens.

I have to say for the time being, Tommi, I just see a massive contradiction? You gave examples of how you could right now, in real life, eat or do exercises or whatever. Fair enough, I totally agree!

But then you give an example of the GM considering what could happen. This is nothing like your example of in real life, how you could decide to eat or exercise. In real life, you don’t decide to eat and then some other being decides what could happen.

Trying to charitably read and look for a way out of the contradiction I see, I looked closely at your wording and noticed you do refer to being able to make decisions as you do in real life. Both in the above text and here

Hopefully a helpful characterisation of my default preference is to say that decisions about what happens next/what my character does next (the same thing, really) can be made as decisions are made in real life. (Default, because I dabble in other styles, too, where the rules take more active role.)

Do you mean in roleplay you can make decisions as you do in real life – but that doesn’t necessarily connect with actually carrying out that decision/doing it?

Do you mean you have infinite options because you can, just in terms of deciding, decide to do an infinite amount of things? I could agree with that? (I hope I appear to be trying to find some common ground)

But deciding something doesn’t mean you actually have the option for it. By stating that, I mean I can see no evidence for it – is there some that can be brought out for scrutiny?