Well, I sat at my computer for a long time today working on various Army things. Occasionally the mind would wander (hence the sub-title of the site) and I started thinking about gaming and me. I once heard a very wise man say “Stick to what you know.” I think he was talking about writing and not gaming, but I got to think about if this could equally apply to either.
I have had probably upwards of thirteen to fifteen game systems floating about my head in the last three years, many of them even made it onto paper to some degree. From a few lines of notes, to pages of details, mock ups of layout designs….yet, I was never happy. I wanted a universal game, something that would cover my various wild ideas that I have floating around (really, I need a secreta…oh wait, executive administrative assistant, to help me organize this mess).
In any case, so I was sitting here thinking. One of the most fun gaming sessions I have had in the last like three years was the Decent into Dallas Station game. This was a ripped from the pages of the script Aliens rip-off I ran about two years ago in an effort to showcase some of the new awesome tools that MapTool provides GMs with. I used the Savage Worlds system and the game was an absolute hit. Everyone of the players later told me they loved it. So I am thinking that perhaps I should step back away from these new setting ideas I have and go with something I know.
Right now I am thinking of a game that is a special Army unit that deploys in answer to all sorts of short and dangerous missions. Thinking of throwing in some Lovecraftian horror into the mix, just to make it more fun. I have the bare bones mechanics worked out and in the process I worked up the following example (I find working up examples helps locate problems and makes me old gears in me head a turnin’ and awesome ideas start rolling), so I worked up the example below.
A few Characters:
MSG Joe “Biggs” Biggleton
Traits: Soldier  Intelligence Officer 
Gear: M4 Rifle w/scope, IBA
Traits: Insurgent  Bomb Maker 
Gear: Ak-47, Grenade
Traits: Armored 
Gear: .50cal MG
That Achmed and his IED.
Achmed lays an IED down to explode when an MRAP comes by, using a wire
to set it off. He determines he will use his Mental and Bomb Maker for
a total pool of 6. He rolls and gets 4 successes. Biggs is driving his
MRAP by and hits the IED, since the vehicle was attacked, we use its
stats. The MRAP has a physical of 4 and the trait of Armored for a
total of 8 in its pool. Biggs rolls for it, getting 6 successes. The
bomb goes off and proves ineffective in damaging the MRAP.
Biggs not happy.
Biggs doesn’t think the IED attempt was cute and dismounts, trying to
locate Achmed. Achmed stated he used a wire to set off his IED. Biggs
uses his Mental + Intel Officer trait to get a pool of 7 to try to
locate the wire. Achmed will use his Mental + Bomb Maker to get a
total pool of 6. Both roll, Biggs gets 3 and Achmed gets 2. Biggs
spots the wire and sprints after it, closing on Achmed.
Biggs always gets his man.
Biggs sees Achmen hiding behind a low wall. He raises his M4 and takes
a shot at the guy in the man dress. He uses his Physical +Soldier to
get a pool of 6, he also has an M4 (w/scope!) listed in Gear so the GM
tells him to add one die for a total of 7 in his pool. Achmed is
trained but not a true soldier, so he takes his Physical + Insurgent
trait to get a total of 4, the GM adds his Ak47 Listed in Gear for a
total of 5. Both roll and Biggs gets 3 successes versus Achmed’s 2, a
total Margin of Success of 3. Achmed loses his 2 die in his trait
Insurgent and then takes an additional blow of 1 to his Physical,
reducing it to 1. The GM tells the table that Achmed took a round to
the shoulder and is bleeding badly.
Achmed doesn’t clean his AK.
Biggs still considers Achmed a threat and closes with him. Since Biggs
has to cover some ground, the GM opts to let Achmed have an action,
and since he is an insurgent he prays and jumps up to fire on Biggs.
Since his Insurgent trait is gone (and it logically is the trait that
should be used for shooting), he is forced to use his Physical  +
his Bomb Maker trait (at half strength due to being inappropriate) at
 for a total of 2. Biggs is still using his Physical + Soldier
trait for a pool of 6. The GM rules his IBA (body armor) would protect
him and gives him another die to his pool. Achmed rolls great and gets
2 successes, but Biggs has many more dice and scores 5 successes, a
Margin of Failure of 3. The GM determines this is pretty big and
Achmed’s Ak47 suddenly jams!
Never tell Biggs to quit.
Biggs jumps the wall and lands next to Achmed who is fumbling with his
AK. Biggs decides to butt stroke Achmed with his rifle. Again using
his Physical + Soldier (the GM opts to not allow the extra die for the
M4 as a butt stroke is not what it was designed for) for a total of 6.
Achmed must use his Physical + Bomb Maker again for a total of 2.
Biggs easily wins this with 3 successes to Achmed’s zero. A sizeable
Margin of Success. The GM removes Achmed’s last die of Physical and
then 2 more die from Mental. Achmed is down, seriously down and in
need of medical help.
Achmed and his 72 virgins.
Biggs is happy he took the insurgent down and starts to search the
unconscious fellow. As he searches, he comes across a grenade, the pin
already removed. With only seconds to live, he jumps for a wall,
hoping it will protect him from the blast. Since the grenade was not
thrown, there are no stats or traits to use to determine the pool. The
GM determines that a grenade is a pretty serious thing and settles on
a pool of 6 die. Biggs uses his Physical + Soldier + his IBA, then GM
throws him an extra die based on the wall for a total of 8 die in his
pool. Biggs rolls poorly and gets only 1 success while the GM rolled 4
for the grenade, a Margin of Success of 3. Biggs opts to let the IBA
(as it is armor) absorb one die and then takes the remainder to his
Solider trait, lowering it to 2. Biggs removes the IBA from his
character sheet as it is ruined now.