19 November, 2015

The FUBAR rewrite - Basic Actions

Since there is a new GM/Oracle in these play examples, I needed to create a new character portrait. So, before we go any further with the play examples, here's Jenny the Oracle.

Early Actions (few traits/modifiers)

A Beneficial Result

The story has stared with its Bang! The characters have hastily fled the initial scene and found a safehouse where they try to work out who might be against them and why. Diana decides that Kamiko will try to access surveillance cameras in the local area to see how they characters ended up in their starting circumstance, who might have put them there, and when. She uses her “friends in high places” (automatic bonus trait), in the hope that they’ll have information for her, and starts making some phone cals. Kamiko’s “research” action provides an advantage here, Diana could possibly also justify a bonus from the “analyse” action, but since Kamiko is already getting two bonus dice from “research” she just picks up 5 dice and rolls. 2, 3, 3, 5, and 6; Diana picks the 3, 5, and 6, then allocates them. 6 to success (a full success), 5 to sacrifice (no sacrifice), and 3 to story (Diana will choose the success benefit, and the Oracle, Jenny, will choose any sacrifice…but there isn’t any). These results are interpreted back into the story. Diana describes how Kamiko gains an “Insider Knowledge” trait from her calls, and with two points of success (one from the success and one from the initial advantage trait) it will last until the end of the act.

A Detrimental Result

In the next scene, the Oracle states that Alonzo Jones sees someone suspicious nearby. To get a better look at the suspicious person, Carl thinks that Alonzo’s “search” action might help, so he’ll be rolling a fourth die for the action. Since Alonzo is “impulsive”, and this requires a bit of concentration, there will be a penalty on the action. He rolls a 1,2,2 and 4, and drops the 1; the remaining dice are allocated. 4 to success (a near success), 2 to sacrifice (a major sacrifice) and 2 to story (allowing Jenny, as the Oracle, to describe how everything unfolds). The impulsive trait adds an extra degree of sacrifice. Jenny describes how Alonzo can’t quite get a good line of sight on the suspicious person, but that he has enough time to point them out to one of the other lowlifes (the near success). Then, she goes on to say that Alonzo will be permanently distracted by the identity of this person (at a total of three sacrifices, two for the bad roll and one for the existing negative trait, it will be a 1-trait long term penalty). Unless Carl manages to find a way to overcome the trait, it will afflict him for the rest of the session. There’s no one else nearby to help identify the stranger as they blend into the crowd. This might play a good part in the later story, so Jenny writes a quick note as a reminder for later.

A Mixed Result

Ben has been holding back with Hasani so far, but now that the group has a couple of leads, it’s time for him to step up and use some of his skills. The group has found a street thug who seems to know more than he is letting on, so Hasani will use his “Taunt” and “Bluff” actions, in combination with his “Physically Imposing” trait to goad the thug into revealing something useful. Five dice are rolled, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5. Even picking the best three dice, 2, 3, and 5, Ben has a hard decision in front of him. If he puts the 5 into success (full success), he’ll have to allocate a sacrifice of 2 (major sacrifice) or 3 (minor sacrifice). If he avoids any sacrifice by placing the 5 there, then the success will either be a 3 (near success) or a 2 (fail). It seems that if Hasani is going to gain an advantage he’ll have to pay for it in some way. Ban accepts the success with a minor penalty because the success gains a bonus from the “physically imposing” trait, it pushes the story’s momentum forward, and it adds character through the acquired negative trait. As the Oracle, Jenny describes how the thug describes a how one of the Rogues has paid him off, she flips over the next rogue in the gallery, Ginger Rust is behind this part of the story. Diana’s ears prick up because her lowlife Yoshida Kamiko is linked to Ginger Rust. It might be time to explain the strength and nature of this relationship.

Later Actions (more traits/modifiers)
After a few scenes, Doc Titanium sits at a computer terminal in Mr Norrington’s workshop [he’s borrowing this positive trait], he works with the “insider knowledge” Kamiko had gained earlier [he’s also borrowing this positive trait], a data transfer passcode [this one’s his positive trait], and an image fragment [also his positive trait]. This could be a significant turning point in the story, so Jenny spends two of her secret tokens to make the action more difficult (two tokens cancel out two of the positive traits). Doc Titanium feeds his information into a computer to determine where to head next, he uses his “Research” and “Interface” to roll a total of 5 dice. 3, 4, 4, 5, and 6.

If he did this, Ed could allocate Doc Titanium’s 5 and 6 to Story and Sacrifice in either order (it makes no difference). He’d gain a full success with no sacrifice, automatically gaining two successes worth of benefit (one from the die result, four more from the contributing positive traits, and minus two for the spent secret tokens). The remaining three points could be used to acquire an advanced positive trait, and the final point could make this bonus valid until the end of the act… or…

Jenny, as the Oracle, spends a Secret Token. She asks Ed to take some kind of action that might allow Doc Titanium to notice something. Because she has spent a token, there is automatically the chance of something bad happening to the doctor. Ed asks if he can include Doc Titanium’s “search” action, and since this seems reasonable, Jenny allows it. Dice are rolled: 1, 3, 3, and 5. Ed drops the 1, then allocates the 5 to Success and the pair of 3s to Story and Sacrifice. Jenny describes how Doc Titanium sees some tell-tale scars on a person walking down the street (he recognises these scars on many people in his “Fetish” circles), but the minor sacrifice associated with this action is a series of memories about the last time he was at the fetish club and a sudden desire to clear those bad memories from his head with his drugs. The story has progressed, but he’ll have a negative “On Edge” trait until the drugs are taken, or until the end of the scene (whichever comes first).

If there were multiple characters together, Jenny could have spent a second secret token to make everyone present engage in an action roll. Every success would have added more detail to the story element unveiled, every sacrifice would have had some personal effect on each character making the roll.

Multi-Character Cooperative Actions
…instead of claiming a success on his last roll, Ed allocates Doc Titanium’s 4 to success, with the 5 and 6 going to Sacrifice and story. Ed describes how Doc Titanium finds a back door in the system then passes the keyboard over to Kamiko.

So, instead of claiming the three points for a success of his own, two positive traits cancel out the secret tokens, and remaining bonus outcome is halved and passed to Kamiko so that she can finish the job. Kamiko takes the basic one point bonus from Doc Titanium’s action, and adds the four bonuses (because they still apply to the situation at hand), she then adds an extra one due to her loose relationship to Doc Titanium, pushing the total up to six. She rolls 5 dice with the benefit of her “research” actions, 1,3,3,5,5. It’s not as good as Doc Titanium’s attempt, but with the groundwork laid it doesn’t matter. Diana allocates a 5 each to Success and Sacrifice, and 3 to Story. With the benefit from the positive traits, that means seven points of positive outcome. Kamiko decides that every lowlife (1pt) will get an advanced positive trait (2pts), and that bonus will be permanent (4pts). Everyone will have their electronic footprint completely erased from all computer systems. That will make it easier for them to move around the city for a while and avoid further problems while they resolve their stories.

Multi-Character Conflicted Actions

Alonzo Jones and Mr Norrington have followed a lead to a small abandoned shopfront on the east side of town, as they step inside, they hear the back door slam. Someone is getting away, and they both want to claim a bit of glory for taking someone down. They both have “hunt” as an action, and while they don’t want to kill this person, a good kneecapping wouldn’t go astray, so “shoot” is valid to add to the outcome. He’s not a named rogue, so a single success is all that’s needed. Die rolls are made (Alice/Mr Norrington 3, 3, 4, 5, and 5, Carl/Alonzo Jones 1, 2, 4, 4, and 6). Both allocate their highest die to Success, and next highest to Sacrifice. Both could succeed, but because Norrington doesn’t have a sacrifice, he reaches the unnamed escapee first (if they both had a success and no sacrifice, the highest story die would be used to resolve a tiebreaker). In this particular case Alice describes the shot kneecap as Norrington catches his prey, and the interrogation of this particular mook can begin.

At this stage I'm wondering whether I should try to illustrate some comic panels depicting these story elements. It depends how we go for page count, and what other ideas cross my mind in the mean time.
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