OAGS Stuff

1. I had some thoughts on AP bullets. At the moment they do -2 Dmg and Half Soak. Hence they only become worth while when tackling Soak 5+ targets. I would propose a different system with levels of AP. Generally APL would give -1L Dmg and Ignores 2L Soak. E.g. AP1 gives -1 Dmg and Ignores 2 Soak, AP2 gives -2 Dmg and Ignores 4 Soak, etc. I would consider limiting 6-7 Dmg firearms to AP1, then perhaps 8-11 Dmg firearms to AP2 (or perhaps make AP bullets for this Dmg range AP2) and so on in some appropriate fashion. AP level might also be limited by tech level. Future weapons could probably access high AP on low damage weapons. The MP7 in fact fires 4.6mm high velocity rounds and perhaps that might be statted as AP2. Possibly also AP levels could be applied to melee weapons of the piercing kind.

This… is… CONFUSING! *boot*

I don't think it is substantially more complicated than the current systems and I feel it is worth implementing.

If you can trade 1 damage for AP 2, that becomes worth it almost all the time, because almost everyone has a Soak of 1 or more. The idea with the current system is that straight damage is best when the enemy's soak is between 2 and 4, shotguns and hollowpoints are better when soak is low and armour piercing weaponry is better when soak is high.

The problem I have with the current system is that Modern Age weapons and armour aren't really representitive with the Half/Double/Triple soak system. Basic Free AP/Hollowpoint ammunition should be situational, but currently AP ammo is no use unless used against Future Power Armour, where it SHREDS top-level armour, which is no sense for a teflon-sprayed bullet. Basic Free AP ammo should be -2 Damage and -4 Target Soak, as this means it fucks up Kevlar without annihilating Powered armour and still doing less damage to Unarmoured targets since the bullet doesn't spall. Hollowpoints work okay with +2 Damage and increased soak, although this means even a heavy coat renders them as effective as normal bullets, I guess this works fine. More advanced CP-cost ammunition could be statted as: Tungsten Rounds -4 Target Soak, no damage penalty; Shredder Rounds +4 Damage, x2 Target Soak (Equilibrium at 2 Armour) and some futuristic multi-CP type could work as: Armour Cracker: +2 Damage, -4 Target Soak; Flesh Render Ammo: +6 Damage, x2 Target Soak.

Still not wholly convinced, but I'm gonna give this some thought. I'd not though that Armour Piercing bullets don't exactly shred powered armour. Armour Piercing rounds only do 2 damage more than standard rounds vs. Soak 8, frex. Ignores Soak doesn't exist for solid ammunition, instead being the domain of plasma and exotic energy weapons. Also, for the record, hollowpoints(and shotguns) are still superior against heavy clothing(soak 1). It's only a kevlar vest(soak 2) or heavy clothing with a helmet where regular bullets break even.

» Okay, AP Ammo may not exactly -shred- powered Armour, but against a 10 Soak, it's still 3 more damage, for free, while always being at least as good as regular ammo to any soak of 4 or above. As I say, my main problem with special ammo currently is not that it's oddly effective against future armour, but that Armour Piercing is detrimental to use in the 20th century.

»» Well, the cost of the extra 3 damage is the loss of damage against soak 0-2 enemies. And honestly, which is more common? But yes, if your fighting entirely against people with soaks of 4 and lower, it's never a good idea to pack AP rounds. But powered armour is not the only instance of higher-than-4 soak. If you're fighting robots, exoskeletoned xenoforms or, most likely, vehicles, AP rounds start paying their dues. And in your typical OAGS game, I imagine you'll start finding yourself up against that kind of thing eventually.

More generally, I kind of envision the standard 24-cp Soldier as the default mook-antagonist, which is why 4-soak is the point where normal bullets, Half-Soak and Ignore Soak are all equally effective. If AP were more effective against soldiers than straight damage, I'd worry about everyone just using AP rounds.

»»» Fresh idea. Since armour piercing bullets are expensive and not standard issue, make them a slightly technological item. Costs 1cp, gives -1 Damage and Halves Soak. This way they are even against soak 1-2, worse against soak 0, better against soak 3+, but still conforms to my idea of balance. Good compromise?

It also occurs to me that Shotguns could work entirely differently and have Buckshot as being 4-6 Damage, 3/4 Shots (per Shell), Short Range. Would shred unarmoured targets and be quickly rendered ineffective by armour. A Future-age Laser "Tri-barrel" Weapon would work well at 7-8 Damage, 3/4 Shots/charge, Short Range. Would need to compare standard weapon damages vs. common armours to get damage ranges that are both flavourful and balanced. In fact that would be a good place to start on the "firearms revamp" I heard brief mention of.

Shotguns currently do 12 damage with the Triple Soak drawback, but this could equally well be thought of as doing 3 shots, 4 damage each, with the drawback of all shots having to target the same enemy. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

» Considering that Shotguns, and especially sawn-offs, fire in a spread, I'd say that rather than rolling a number of shots against one target, you roll once (to save time) and allocate hits among your target and any others adjacent.

»» Still three times as much rolling. And if you can split your shots, I'd be concerned about shotguns getting too good.


2. Does Soak need to be limited to 10? Toughness is limited to 10, HP is 5x this and this leads Dmg which should lead Soak.

Previous, less limited runs of OAGS have seen that soak becomes very awesome very quickly. Also, I believe the philosophy behind such little soak is to make battles not turn into drawn out slap fights, like the gentleman's fisticuffs between Jim and Deuce.

Indeed. Soak above 10 leads to some PCs feeling unable to contribute to defeating very tough enemies. I'm more inclined to uncap Toughness than to uncap Soak (essentially, I don't think uncapped Strength or Toughness are at all problematic, but I do think uncapped Defence, Melee or Marksmanship are potentially problematic, so I'm retaining a cap on all abilities for consistancy).


3. Intelligence a bit awesome. I have heard numerous complaints about how intelligence is way too broad. For example, Stephen Hawking will certainly know a great deal about occultism, and Lord Malfortune will be pretty damn good at astrophysics. Both will be alarmingly well informed when identifying the insides of a sophisticated aeroplane. There are two options: First is the Occult Stat returns. I would disagree with the assessment that it would be one of the stats that you would either max or ignore as it is still useful to everyone. Second option is area of expertise. Gain a number of studied areas in the same way as you gain languages. Hence, a witch might know about: Magick, Psychics, Xenoforms and Politics and not have much authority on other areas (ie, -2 penalty or somesuch) where a scientist might know about chemistry, physics, astrophysics and mechanics. An advantage could be added to add extra areas of study. This will not conflict with expert, as it serves as a limit, not an enhancement.

I had a thought, perhaps it is something best pursued in another system, but what if the [general] Ability scores were derived from your Advantages and Disadvantages? Taking Expert in something or a language would add some fraction of an Intelligence point to the base score of 2, Illiterate might detract a fraction, and so on until, after some rounding, the general Ability score is derived. Likewise taking Firearms Training and a few Weapon Specialisations would increase your general Marksmanship score and being good at running and jumping would increase your general Athletics score.

My logic here: A professor of physics(Int 4, Expert: Physics) has an effective score of 8 on physics related matters. Malfortune can't match that. Likewise a veteren sorcerer(Int 4, Expert: Occult) has an effective score of 8, which Hawking can't match. The thing to remember is this; Intelligence 6 is incredible, but getting a 6 on an Intelligence check is only incredible if it's outside your academic field. I'm reluctant to bring back Occult because Intelligence is not a very powerful stat as is- it doesn't need splitting.

You appear to be missing the point. Malfortune is intelligence 7, and can have a damn good go at not just physics, but actually everything. Stephen Hawking will not necessarily know as much about rituals as a master of the occult, but will still de facto know a large amount even though he has never heard of the occult. Additionally, he will know more about the occult than a sorceror who is int 4 with no expert. According to current logic, Doctor Schadenfreude will handily outfox Kaori when discussing the insides of a car engine, even though he can't mess with the insides of it like she can. All these situations are ridiculous. Limiting areas of knowledge is necessary, otherwise you end up with characters like midgame Saxton Hale forever finding some way to roll most tests on Int and breaking everything.

Well, Intelligence 7 is superhuman. It's appropriate at that point to start being a generalist who can match or exceed experts in their own fields. Hawking auto-fails occult-based checks because he is Veiled, but a un-Veiled super genius does indeed know a large amount about the occult (not necessarily about rituals, because ritual knowledge is more about Magick Advantages than Intelligence checks). A sorcerer with no Expert(occult) knows a lot about magick, but not much about the vulnerabilities of vampires or the breeding habits of werewolves. Doesn't Kaori have Expert (Technology) or similar? She probably should. Plus, I'd probably give characters with Mechanic a bonus on mechanics-based Int check, characters with Doctor a bonus on medicine-based Int checks, etc.

Do you want to make Un-Veiled a 0cp Advantage like Temporal Free Agent?

The way I would tackle this would be to make a number of advantages ranked, such as Occult, Stealth etc, and give anyone who makes checks on that skill -without- the skill at a -4 or such, while those with various ranks get +1/+2/+4, representing their relative expertise. So for example you would still roll on Int to cast or identify a ritual, but say an Int 4 un-Magickal character would roll at dice +0, a Dabbler at dice +4, a Warlock at +5, Sorceror at +6 and Wizard at +8 (and incorporate the Staff into this roll). You can then set Occult and Intelligence based challenges at difficulties relative to how arcane the knowledge would be - Say a piece of advanced astrophysics knowledge requiring an Int roll of 8 to get, which for Steve Hawking at Int 5 with the Astrophysics speciality would be a fairly easy roll, but for Joe Wizard at Int 5 would be difficult. Identifying an Advanced Ritual at Difficulty 8 would be something similarly easy for Joe Wizard but then impossible for the Professor. Stealth could work in a similar way.

Even for just standard Int Challenges, you can easily enough come up with a difficulty rating scale which assumes expert knowledge for difficult challenges and sets them with the idea that someone has a 1CP Advantage for increased knowledge. Ex:

Basic Int Challenge 2 - Every PC should be able to do these
Inter Int Challenge 4 - Average PCs should be able to do these, but not that often
Hard Int Challenge 6 - Most PCs should find these hard, unless they are experts in the field
Expert Int Challenge 8 - Only a PC with specific expertise or super-human intelligence should be able to do these.

I can live more easily with the super-intelligent Wizard Lord Malfortune happening to be able to derive the Hawking Radiation equations through sheer brain-power than I can with Steven Hawking recognising Occult sigils, even simple one. This fix should work out this kink without making an extra stat or hugely complicating things.

Gaz has just pretty much summed up how, to my mind, the system works. Only thing I'd mention regarding Hawking knowing Occult stuff: bear in mind, a lot of this stuff isn't hugely off-the-wall bizarre. Leaving magick aside (which is only a specialized sub-section of occult), Occult knowledge includes stuff like; "Demons are repelled by holy symbols", "Vampires are allergic to garlic" and "Werewolves are humans who transform into wolves on the full moon.". Stephen Hawking is a genius- it's not inconcievable he has a good knowledge of the occult for a layman- he just doesn't think any of that stuff is real.

I think in that case it's just my personal lack of experience with the system - Occult Knowledge in that folklore sense would roll off int, possibly on higher difficulties, while I'd make full on Magickal tests roll with a "-4 untrained" penalty.

Currently, characters without a Magick advantage auto-fail ritual casting, so that rule would be an upgrade.


4. My own moans over stealth. I think stealth is woeful as an advantage since everyone has a capacity to stealth and it acts more like a scale. If occult is re-introduced, and you are looking for a round number to work with, consider re-introducing infiltration also.
Infiltration was dropped because 11 is an odd number of Abilities. If ever the Ability list is re-expanded, I would introduce it back again in a flash. How well do you think it works at the moment? I'm considering implementing different grades of the Stealth Advantage.