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Re: (TFT) Re: ... $ over comes EXP and Why buy ST?

In a message dated 11/11/2004 2:22:23 AM Central Standard Time, pvk@oz.net 

>At 09:56 PM 11/10/04 -0800, Rick Smith wrote:
>>I would be very interested in people's thoughts on:
>>How to make $ less powerful in tech campaigns.
>One thing is to consider the real world. Few of the wealthy are adventurer 
>types, and few non-adventurers think like RPG players. A few might 
>(recently here in the Seattle area, a lawyer seems to have kitted himself 
>out to murder an opponent with a pistol, kevlar, disguise, and a dagger 
>(shades of Melee?)). However typically (or stereotypically) the rich hire a 
>bunch of guards, rather than munchkinning out with uber equipment, leaving
>plenty of room for clever adventurer kooks to try to tip the scales with 
>clever tactics, equipment, skills, etc., and come up with things that could 
>fool typical organizations or rich people. In other words, players and the 
>GM need to roleplay conventional non-gamer approaches to security and 

But then the security guards - or at least the best-quality ones - will have 
a "gamer" approach to things. They'll be kitted out in the best equipment they 
can get their employer to pay for, either directly or indirectly. The guards 
may even *be* the PCs. 

>The most effective equipment and solutions can often be more a matter of 
>who you and what you know, and how you use what you have, rather than how 
>much cash you have.
>Another thing to remember is that civilized high-tech types may be less 
>likely to fight to the death than hobgoblins and the like. Once someone has 
>the "drop" on someone else, it's "freeze! hands up!", more often than 
>immediate execution. That turns the arena to wits, ruses, escape 
>techniques, and possibly a hand-to-hand combat. Modern action heroes (with 
>a few comical exceptions) don't often win by just having the best gear, and 
>they often get captured several times before finally prevailing.
>Also, when weapons are one-shot-per-kill, having the best gear frequently 
>isn't nearly as important as alertness, stealth, wits, tactics, shooting 
>skill, draw time, etc.

A lot depends on whether the adventurers are overt military types. Which 
suggests one possibility: Make the PCs into members of a military unit. Most of 
their equipment will be "Government Issue," and any personal gear will be 
secondary stuff. I've set up and (briefly) run a campaign of this sort where the PCs 
were starfighter pilots and "space scouts." The background was sort of a 
combination of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactia, the Rogue/Wraith Squadron Star Wars 
books, and the Buck Rogers TV show. The PCs were tasked with exploring new 
worlds & new civilizations, skirmishing with the Sagittarian Pirates, and 
(although this element wasn't ever reached) fighting off Mysterious Robotic Invaders 
>From Another Galaxy.

>Modern situations are full of non-combat situations which can challenge 
>players in ways which don't involve equipment quality. EXP should mainly 
>equal smarts, and smarts beat $, or at least operates in a different domain.
>>And why would people buy ST in tech campaigns.
>I have seen modern-tech players buy ST to be able to swing around fun big
>guns. You can devalue it in a high-tech game, too. In StarLeader: Assault, 
>IIRC, your ST equivalent attribute had a meaningful contribution to your 
>ability to move quickly (as HT does in GURPS).

IIRC, they combined ST & DX into a single "prowess" stat - a sort of measure 
of the character's "jockishness." 

>Also, many high-tech societies are full of areas and situations where 
>high-tech weapons are highly controlled, so low-tech fighting abilities can 
>be very useful. Also see escape attempts and the ability to fight in those 
>situations where the bad guys took your gun.

This also puts a premium on high-tech weapons that can be kept hidden - 
holdout blaster pistols rather than the latest 9000 series BFG. 

Another possibility is to put in cheap & easy defenses. My "Space Scouts" 
game used personal force fields that basically gave a bunch of extra hit points & 
made almost all damage "non lethal" (When a force field was overloaded, in 
that game, it turned into a stasis field.)  I also had fairly elaborate rules & 
customs about what was done with prisoners. 

Or, one could make the PCs be something other than mercenaries or pirates. If 
they're smugglers, space merchants, etc, their primary focus for spending $$$ 
will be other than on combat equipment. The focus will be on spending as 
little on combat stuff as they can get away with and still survive & prosper. 

Erol K. Bayburt
Evil Genius for a Better Tomorrow
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