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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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It's been almost a week. Let's have another one of these.

>What is all this
this is where it all started, 4 years ago.
this is where it was picked up in 2020
this is where it's hopefully beginning to become a real thing.

the original prompt from the first thread to set the mood:
>Your PCs are a team of couriers and mail-carriers tasked with delivering supplies and communications between remote mining and fishing communities in the frozen northlands.

>Together, you crew a large crawler vehicle, designed to haul cargo through the snow and provide comfortable if cramped shelter for its operators as they make their appointed rounds.

>As the government's presence and ability to respond to incidents and accidents in this region is tenuous at best, the PCs are often asked to help with a wide range of situations.

>Most of these are mundane in nature, like delivering a time-sensitive letter to the next town along their route, checking in on an elderly prospector or repairing a faulty generator.

>Sometimes though, the situation is more creepy, like running across a "cursed" unfinished rail line, like investigating mysterious disappearances or sighting otherworldly creatures.
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In the last few threads we discussed many things, and a few mechanical decisions have actually been made (obviously these aren't set in stone for everyone, but it's a start in making a system for this world).

skill checks & exhaustion
>rolling dicepools of multiple d10s (depending on your skills/attributes) and either counting successes or the highest result.
>any 1 rolled adds one Exhaustion to either your mental or physical fatigue.
4 attributes with differing preferences for names
>Might/Physique and Finesse/Motorics make up physical attributes
>Brain/Wits and Empathy/Psyche make up mental attributes
>these two parts also make up your Exhaustion tracker or are affected by Exhaustion
>you need tools for certain jobs
>better tools raise the cap for successes counted making you faster or more efficient in managing a task
hexcrawl map
>environmental aspects of hexes are randomly rolled.
>roll once each time you move from one hex to another, or every twelve hours for encounters, weather changes, breakage, paranormal happenings.
>roll an additional time each night, with a higher chance for paranormal happenings.
resource tracking
>main resources are fuel, food and heat, whereas heat is dependant on fuel too.
>travelling 1 hex takes 1 fuel.
>keeping heat up for 1 day takes 1 fuel.
>food is either counted as days of food for the whole crew, or each character uses up 3 meals each day.
>food can be rationed to last longer, with some negative effects on the crew.
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I'm one of the anons who decided to write down some stuff on this because honestly, I've been eager to play this since the earliest thread, but only recently decided it's time to start building something.

What I've been working on this week was to flesh out some rules regarding Exhaustion and resting. imo a Resting Place should be determined by three stats: Warmth, Safety and Comfort, with comfort being the deciding factor for how much Exhaustion is healed by resting.
For warmth, there needs to be a base level in order to be habitable, but it wouldn't add anything to comfort. If you heat over the necessary amount you'd have two levels: Warm (adding 2 to comfort) and Cozy (adding 4).
Obviously, you wouldn't be able to rest in a clearly dangerous place. If there is no obvious threat, but you decide to camp out in the open, you'd be Vulnerable (taking -2 comfort). Above that would be Secure (0) and Fortified (+2).

Finally, Comfort would be what you get from your Warmth and Safety values, combined with bonuses for furniture, music, plants, etc. PCs could have hobbies they can practice to make the place more comf.
Basically, imagine a Snowcrawler with each PCs bunk styled with what they like: posters of nude women and a hidden bottle of scotch under the mattress on one side; a crayon painting from another crewmember's son and an old guitar on the other. This is what makes up the Comfort level.
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>Paranormal happenings

an idea that a mate of mine had was that when dealing with anomalies, psionics, or other creepy stuff, the GM could decide on an alternative success system in order to reflect the alien nature of these phenomena. for example:
>PCs come across a strange anomaly that seems to bend the laws of nature.
>try rolling Psyche, Brains or anything else to learn more about it.
>normally, you'd succeed on a high roll. in secret, the GM checks the rolls, but really only looks at how close the dice rolled to a certain object on the table. Or only prime numbers are successes. Or counts the number of times the player shook the dice in their hand before letting go.
>new system should be simple. Definitely possible to figure out, but obscure.

The more often these players interact with anomalies, the easier they'll think outside of the box, reflecting their characters' growing understanding of the paranormal.

What do you guys think? Too bananas?
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You guys ever heard about Simon Stalenhag?
Well is it more a, "this doesn't bother me as much as it used to", or a more sinister "anomalies are the default nature of reality and it has started to disrupt my perceptions"?
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Snow and ice is all well and good, but are there any other locales or environments that could work within the setting without detracting too much from the aesthetic?
I've been toying with the idea of salt flats with puddles of extreme high salinity water - or some other solution that prevents the exposed water from just freezing solid. Could be a cool alternative area to the usual snowdrifts and such.
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Yes! I even have an art book of his. great stuff. a bit too high tech for this setting imo, but some crazy outgrowths of technology here and there would be cool. thinking of experimental tesla coils, black hole generators... stuff that makes you think whether science is using these paranormal phenomena... or causing them.
I dunno, snow and ice *is* kinda the name of the game here. Except for some geothermal cave systems, I can't think of much that would realistically melt the snow in these temperatures.
I'm not sure I follow
After going through the old threads, the world seems to be getting colder with more and more areas becoming like tundra. But it's not quite a frozen apocalypse like in Snowpiercer or Frostpunk as it has happened slowly enough for people to start adapting, some more easily than others. So slow, in fact, that I would say that only the elder generation would remember a warmer world from when they themselves were kids and teens. Some would even love to tale tales from then around a gathering's bonfire as everyone drinks the fresh shipment of hot coco.
If the world is getting colder and colder, where are they growing the cocoa plants?
no. bad realismanon!
that thing would need larger tires and more ground clearance, unless its only supposed to drive on roads in light snow
The change is slow. Areas closer to the equator, domed heated areas made to grow produce, specific greenhouses where enthusiasts grow and pollinate Cocoa plants for chocolate and drugs, there are a few places you can reference in passing to help suspend disbelief.
>his crawler doesn't have hydroponics, much less synthetic cacao
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this is an old pdf where an anon attempted to make a first system for crawler creation
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>>80031403 and another anon made this
Please, not the spray bottle!
This actually makes sense. Think someone would also gene-edit plants to resist cold temperatures?
It can be cold and dry just as easily. High altitude deserts, ancient seas pushed up by tectonics, polished to a mirror sheen by arctic winds. Dead forests sanded down by dust and salt storms. Dully colored succulents and fungus. The odd saltwater bog or two.
>below freezing alkaline death lakes filled with mummified remains that you swear move in your peripherals
>salt storms cut holes and channels into petrified driftwoods and softer rocks brought in during the flooding season, so the expansive lake "sings" when the winds pick up just enough.
>a bit too high tech for this setting imo
I think you could still swing it honestly. The main thing is isolation followed by scarcity, not necessarily despair and hardship but skirting the line. Just say the magnetic field of the place completely scrambles all communication and non-manual navigation. You can have survey drones and hydroponics but they're connected on a tow line cable connection and resource generation is either mobile or sustainable but not both. The best you can do is further the length of your stored goods or hire PCs to haul around special tools and seeds for trade and repair.
The thing is, stalenhal's gimmick is weird alien tech juxtaposed against nostalgic 80's childhood.
The gimmick we're going for in this thread is not that: we want eerie, cold, comfy survivalism with big mobile homes - resources must be managed - survival is always a concern - comfiness is a necessity...that sorta thing.
Lava and ice is always a cool mixture. If you're talking about plates being forced up, how about some good ol' fashioned massive fissure eruptions in the occasional place? Due to the massive amount of lava thrown up the terrain would be affected dramatically, so you could have an active volcanic region or just an area covered in basalts and other igneous terrain. Look to Iceland for inspiration.
Heat could weaken surface ice, or be responsible for tunnels beneath it. People can live there. Or other things...
With heat and snow comes fog and mist: the heat dwellers and the crawler crews interact in the mist....
I'm interested in non-violent scenarios, like an old episode of Star Trek like where the crew runs into a two dimensional life form and then has to deal with the situation in a novel way instead of powering up the weapons and shooting them.

For example, during their journey the PCs respond to a distress call and come across two stranded strangers next to a broken vehicle. PCs bring the strangers aboard since leaving the strangers would be a death sentence especially because of an oncoming storm. The strangers act suspiciously and as time goes on they want to gain privacy. Eventually one of the strangers causes a commotion that draws everyone's attention - maybe killing the power. The stranger acted alone, and the other stranger was not seen. When the PCs look for the other stranger the first tries to keep them distracted. Eventually the other stranger is found or returns, looking rattled. As time goes on the second tries to let the first stranger slip away. Eventually one of the strangers is caught in the act - their flesh twists and melts as they assume their true form. The other stranger either reverts to their true form as well, or explains the situation: they're shapeshifters that want to flee the encroachment of human civilization, and the can only hold their human disguises for so long - like tensing a muscle, you can't do it forever. The shapeshifters are worried about being harmed by humans and ask that the PCs drive them to their new remote home. The PCs can then decide what to do. Even if the PCs do talk about this encounter to others, there are plenty of spooky stories that snow crawler crews share with each other, some true, others not. Maybe nobody would believe them.

I'm not really sure how to better explain it than this: at the end of the scenario the snow crawler is going to keep on trucking and the PCs are going to be sipping hot cocoa.

Any resources or ideas you guys could share with me to help me with this?
This dude got molested in an RV during the winter or something. What a weirdly specific fetish.
>I can't think of much that would realistically melt the snow in these temperatures.
A little variety is always nice to have - maybe the local area is heated underfoot by geothermal activity, or there's just some sort of local anomaly/chemical that drastically lowers the freezing point of water.
Maybe it's not even water at all - coolant from an old power station or blood from an old wyrm.

Yeah, that sounds cool too - dessicated lakebeds and petrified forests. There's an interesting phenomenon - krummholz - that describes the shaping of trees, or even entire forests by wind. Could be a cool local environment.
You know those volcanic glass formations from when undersea volcanoes expel lava into cold seawater, causing rapid cooling? Wonder if something similar could happen between the cold landscape and the lava, creating structures of volcanic glass that alter the environment.
How big would permanent settlements be? Would the ancient cities still have human inhabitants trying to keep them somewhat functional?
I definitely can imagine SOME high tech, but not as frequent as Stalenhag scatters it about his world. More like 'top secret government project stolen from a crashlanded alien vessel' level of scarcity.

I would like some rusty industrial mechs though. Not meant for battle, but if we have Snowcrawlers, we better also have mechs.
I totally agree, and that is a SWEET plot hook. Gonna note that down.
I think most anons so far seemed to concur with 90% comfy adventures, 10% spoopy paranormal activity.
(for me personally I'd say 60% comf, 30% surviv, 10% spoop)

As I'm writing some mechanics for this, I'm trying to find alternative ways to handle combat. There should be mechanics for it, and if players absolutely need to shoot something, they should be able to. But the mechanics shouldn't take up most of the rulesets like in many other systems, and be more deadly and more narrative than tactical. I'm thinking of mexican standoffs that need to be broken some way because no one wants to get killed.

The direction I'm headed is instead of HP, we have mental and physical Exhaustion right? There could be a set of Conditions you can gain if you get too Exhausted, and that you can also gain by being exposed to certain things. Like bullets to the groin.

So maybe instead of HP loss, guns simply give you the Condition 'Wounded', which can have different levels of severity and thus different levels of care are needed in order to heal from it. something like:
>roll 1d6 to find out where you're wounded: head, torso, arm left/right, leg left/right
>-1d10 to your dice pool whenever using that part of your body
>needs a successful Medicine check every day to heal within 1d10 days (unrealistic, but the setting is probably difficult enough otherwise. Or you could argue that true wounds would force you to settle down somewhere for long enough to warrant that character being out of the game for a time)
>if left untreated, it gets worse (next level of severity: 'Crippled')

I think this way anyone would think twice about starting a fight.
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Not sure what kind of help you're looking for, but in the old threads there are plenty of comfy, creepy and anything in between non-combat encounter hooks.

I think it comes down to how the GM sets up encounters and lethality. If picking a fight, even if the PCs win it, is a losing game overall, they'll automatically look for more peaceful options.

I'm also including a questionnaire to be filled out during character creation. Perhaps you could use the informations gained from that to gently push your players in a more peaceful direction?
>as you pull the ski mask off the thief's head, you reveal the face of a young man, not much older than you were, when your father vanished out in the cold and left you to fend for yourself.
>through the scope of your hunting rifle, you can make out the form of the strange creature in the distance... it reminds you of a picture your daughter drew for you, back in Central. She always used to love the tall tales and spooky stories drifting in from the travelling merchants.

These might be a bit heavy-handed, but you get it.
I've got a few ideas, but they hinge on how violently people reacted to the world ending and how much of the old world is still standing. For now, though
>as your crawler chugs along, a flock of birds comes to warm up and one happily taps the windscreen with its beak. It takes you a while to realise it's tapping in morse.
>for a while, you think the voices outside are talking to you, but you eventually realise they're talking ABOUT you. In casual conversation. You don't know if joining it would be a good idea.
>your crawler makes many noises, but you realise that the low whooshing sound doesn't come from it only when you see the F-35 flying overhead. Who and how got one back to airworthy status?
>the snow quietly falls on you as you hang by the railing, so when you extend your hand to catch some of it, you don't expect a particularly large clump falling right in your palm. Closer inspection reveals an engagement ring inside.
>the usual jingles from your favourite radio station stop as it picks up a distress signal on all frequencies. They repeat their coordinates over and over, but no information about the emergency at hand is ever shared.
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love these environmental explorations btw. keep em coming, I sadly cannot contribute too much because I don't watch enough documentaries :p

I was thinking maybe humanity settled around sources of warmth and power. So new settlements built around existing industrial infrastructure like nuclear or coal plants, incineration plants, but also sources of geothermal heat, like in what used to be a national park, or around a privately owned wellness spa.
In my mind I like the mix of having a few central buildings surrounded by a quickly-built community, and the two not really fitting together.

If an ancient city is still to have inhabitants, it would need a reliable source of heat in the first place... can't think of any atm.

I think settlements should largely be small: a few hundred inhabitants perhaps? And then on the other hand, you have Central (or multiple Centrals, depending on your preference), which is the closest you get to an actual city, with thousands of people and a sort of government. This is where in my mind, the Snowcrawler crews are sent out from, to loosely connect colonies and trading partners, offer services and bring in information about what's outside Central's borders.
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Another non-combat plot hook in the meantime...
>Crawlers keep going missing in what is called the 'pond' (point of no disclosure)
>Central has largely decided not to let people drive there anymore, but either there is a large bounty on any information on what goes in within that area, or a storm forces you inside it.
>As the crew explores the surroundings, they find eerie signs of abandoned crawlers here and there. They look destroyed, like something exploded within, but closer examination reveals they were taken apart piece by piece and salvaged for their precious parts.
>Finally, they come upon a settlement and recognize many of the crawler's bits attached to houses, generators and so on.
>They've got everything you need here, and are based around a beautiful wellspring of hot water.
>Glass houses connected to the geothermal source grow plants and food in abundance. It's actually a small sort of paradise here.
>People are friendly, but hesitant to trust, and they seem much fewer people than the number of houses would suggest
>Eventually they try to get rid of you in the friendliest way possibly, making up excuses as to why you need to leave.
>Reveal is that many Snowcrawler crews simply found their freedom in this place and liked it so much they decided to stay, far away from Central's reach. They were hiding out in their houses, afraid of being revealed to their old employers.
>They ask you if you want to stay. It does seem like a great community...
That scenario would require the previous crews to have stolen the crawlers they were driving for Central to care about them, or for the people living there to have some possible contract they are hiding from.
Just watched this episode of Stargate SG1 and thought that it might be of relevance.
right. which brings me to another question:
Do crews own their crawlers?

I think it goes without saying that as a game mechanic we WANT players being able to modify their crawlers and regard them as their own.
On the other hand, really *owning* the vehicle would mean that at least one person in the crew has more than enough money, so why would they pick up such a dangerous job far away from home?

Maybe within the lore the government gives total control of the vehicle to the crews, since what happens out in the wilderness is so uncontrollable. So it's legally theirs for the duration of the contract to do with as they please, with no risk of repercussions if they bring it back damaged or changed. BUT, if they just go awol or bring nothing back, they need to at least have a good explanation for it.

Regarding this specific plot hook: since the crews kinda have to decide whether they stay or not upon arriving at paradise town, they would rather hide under the veil of this mysterious 'pond' (also repelling a flow of newcomers who could potentially compromise the possibilities of the geothermal sources) than reporting back and having to find another ride there.
Depending on the players or what the GM has done before, I could see some of these plot threads being passed over by the PC's saying "we keep driving".

However, that could be dealt with by people in Crawler transports being legally obligated to stop if they see one or two people wandering in the snow. They are obligated because the crawlers are one of the only official transports to pass through those areas with any frequency, thus making it so that crawler is usually the only chance for rescue if someone gets stranded in the tundra from one way or another. So it became first tradition then law that crawlers are to be used as rescue transport for those lost in the tundra.
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I mean, there are a couple of other possibilities -
>Strict regulations regarding crawler use and ownership
>Potential authority / taxation conflicts if the settlement is discovered
>Desire for isolation, tired of Central cultures/red tape/whatever
>Resource competition if too many settlers start moving in
>Hiding from something else out there that would be alerted if Central starts nosing around

Depending on the age of the post-winter world, it's possible that the government has moved on to developing and employing later generations of more advanced crawlers, with the older generations marketed for commercial and private use. Player crews owning something like a Kharkovchanka-sized crawler shouldn't be too much of a stretch, especially early on in the game - larger boat or even landship size crawlers would involve the gradual accumulation of wealth, favors, or even salvage and repair of stuff out in the world.

It could be a case of prospecting, with crawlers being seen as a hefty but potentially lucrative investment into reclaiming valuable materials or well-paying jobs outside the cities. The initial paying-off of the crew's crawler might even lend itself nicely to an initial campaign motivator / plot hook.
If the PC's are government employees or contractors working for a local Central, then no, they don't own their crawlers. They are leasing a government vehicle for their work, and that vehicle remains government property. Which means outside of personalization of their living quarters, there won't be much modification.

If they're independent private contractors working in transport then they likely do own the crawler, either it being owned wholly by the captain or shared amongst the crew like an investment. And as an investment, it can be given more mechanical modifications that Central either don't approve or take way to long to get the paperwork through for.
I think that would be a good addition to the in-game rules of the setting. Most encounters probably have the possibility of the players saying 'eh, feck it' but then you'd have no game left rather soon. Even if they decide to ignore distress calls and the like, it would at least do some worldbuilding where it's common practice aboard a Crawler to enforce a sort of 'don't ask don't tell' policy between the crewmembers.
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>this was Sebek's first winter as a courier. He and the crew got on alright, until he noticed the captain and pilot huddling around the radio in the cockpit.
>the reception was terrible so far from the nearest antenna, but the repeating coordinates were clearly a distress signal, not far from here.
>their faces betraying no emotions, the two crewmembers looked at eachother.
>slowly, the captain's hand moved towards the radio. Sebek thought he was going to pick up the microphone in order to answer to the call, but was surprised to hear the click of the power switch on the machine. With a last scratching sound, the noise stopped.
>"What are you doing?!", Sebek asked before he could stop himself.
>the others' eyes locked on to him as if they noticed him for the first time. The pilot scowled and opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by a gesture from the captain.
>"Listen here, boy. This isn't like the books your nan read to you while you drank your warm milk." he said with a firm voice. "This is the real wilderness out there. And I ain't gonna risk this mobile or the lives of anyone onboard to follow some fool's errand."
>"But the third rule of the Courier's Charter clearly states--"
>"Woah woah woah, greenhorn. I know exactly what the rules say. Says we are obliged to follow any sign of human life appears to be in need of aid. It also says if we fail to do so, we lose all claims to our Crawler, equipment and rank as Couriers. Well..." he looked around the crawler, where other crewmembers started to gather closer together, eyes fixed on Sebek. "I don't hear any unusual sounds from the radio. Do you?"
>Negating grumbles were voiced all around. The captain stepped in front of Sebek. "How about you, greenhorn? Hear anything that would force us to go off course?"
>Sebek stood still. "No.. sir."
>Immediately the situation relaxed. The others started to disperse. The captain nodded. "Good. Get some rest, comrade. The winter plays its tricks on all of us."
that's some cringe prose.
I do hope someone either explains or something happens to explain why crawlers DO NOT answer every sign in certain areas for some justifiable reasons. Otherwise a newbie like this might feel threatened by his crewmates enough to flee from them or report them once safe at an outpost or Central.
Simple procedure would be to ignore signals that are too weak or sourced too far out from designated routes.
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Yeah, that sounds good.

I know this might be a bit of a tangent, but speaking of >the reception was terrible so far from the nearest antenna -
What if communications in the wilderness is only possible due to the establishment of wireless nodes/pickets at regular intervals?
Hypothetically, let's say that there's a node every ~30-40km - forming a node network with overlapping radii of effect.
Should a node go down, crawlers in that region/hex are limited to very local communications and must either try to fix the node or move into the effective range of another one.

Could be an interesting gameplay and plot point - "Light" zones with full comms coverage and "Dark" zones where the infrastructure has gone down / not been built. It might create some interesting situations, like
>Do we take the long way around to stay in range of help, or do we shortcut through the dark zone and hope we won't need any?
>Should we assist the local city/Central in building up the local network for an easier time in the region long term, or should we pursue better paying contracts?
>Do we try to fix the broken node, or hightail it to get under coverage of the next one?

If it's too mechanically heavy, you could also bump up the range and reliability of the relays while having less of them. That way there'd be less micromanagement, while still making them available as a potential plot point or story hook.
Hell, maybe there's relay crawlers, too.
Now there's a good occasional side quest for crawlers to do in their rounds. They get into central and their crawler is outfitted with equipment to set up a new communication or satellite node in a dark zone or set out to repair a node that has been off for a while.
Bit busy as of late, but I'll try to put together a few more later in the week.
As for now - here's an example of the aforementioned krummholz. They can appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on wind condition and tree species - this is one of the more fantastical examples.

They're also known as flag trees and tuckamore, depending on the region or the specific shape. IRL they're mostly restricted to the high-wind areas of mountains, but in this setting the strong winds could make them much more prevalent.
Danger. One of the more recurring anomalies is that shit being weird paranormal bullshit. And people answering will often die as well if it's dangerous enough. It's just weighing risk.
I was just trying to create a feeling for how Crawler culture could look IF players decide to ignore the aforementioned law of checking out distress signals. pardon my bad writing. English isn't my main language, so I might not get the feeling right.

I don't generally aim for this kind of behavior on board and between crewmembers btw.
I like this. a lot actually. perhaps enough to think up an autistic system of overlapping maps for terrain/connection and tracking reception.
Good idea, but what would localized communication actually do for the players? How would that make their life more difficult?
They could be a good rest point for roleplay or short investigative section. Find out if those tracks that just ended could have been from someone who recently left town, see if that funeral can be given a comforting spot to take place, or just make sure nobody is trying to skim off the shipments again.
That's the idea, yeah - also provides another set of conditions that crews can consider when planning their routes, rather than just terrain and weather.
I don't think it needs to be too complex - maybe the GM rolls for relays in the immediate vicinity of the crawler to see if they go down, while more distant relays can be up to the GM's discretion. A series of relays going down mysteriously can be just as much a plot hook or "oh shit" moment as anything else.

Couple of examples:
>Crewmembers have reduced radio range/performance when away from the crawler on foot (due to no relay boosting)
>Can't call out for neighboring crawlers for help or advice on local environment
>No comms with Central = no weather or threat warnings, ie. sightings of monsters/anomalies/pirate crawlers etc.
And without radio, there wouldn't be any of the dispatchers for the players to interact with.
>There's an interesting phenomenon - krummholz - that describes the shaping of trees, or even entire forests by wind. Could be a cool local environment.
Especially if the wind is blowing the wrong way just to add on to the weirdness
I realise I haven't even posted where I am at with my first draft of mechanics. Not everything that has been discussed is already included, and all of the worldbuilding is in a much more chaotic (and German) document so far.
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another mechanic I haven't written down yet is one I plan to steal from Mouseguard:
>PCs don't level up, but rather if they practice their skills, they have a little list of marks for successes and failures they've accumulated for each skill.
>Once a PC has used a skill often enough to collect 5 successes and 4 failures (yes, both is needed) in one skill, they get to raise it by 1 point.

I've started to really dislike level-based progression and generally think this kind of game wouldn't benefit from power creep at all.
Yeah, this style of gameplay doesn't conduce itself to using levels.
To answer one of the questions in the PDF, I would say that being the cook is ABSOLUTELY important enough to be a profession on board of a crawler. When one is stuck in an enclosed space with freezing death outside, a good tasty meal can be an island of sanity and comfort.
Sounds good to me.
Absolutely, although we may need tangible benefits in terms of gameplay to encourage players to have someone with the cook profession onboard - seems to me that the average player will gravitate towards "cooler" or more exciting roles like security guard, tracker or survival expert.
Kind of goes for some of the crawler-specific professions, too - it might be worth considering to give them benefits beyond the crawler, like Pilot having bonuses to navigation or Storekeepers having slightly increased storage capacity (better organisation/packing etc).
yeah, after some more thought I'm inclined to agree.

would you rather have prepared quality meals add a bonus to exhaustion, or go the opposite way and have a lack of variety in your diet cause mental exhaustion after some days?
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When in doubt, always buff instead of nerf - players will probably take it a lot better if the benefit of good food is framed as a net positive on top of the status quo, rather than a mandatory choice to avoid being penalized.

As a side note, I think Monster Hunter has an interesting food system (and really nice food graphics to boot, like holy shit).

System pic related:
On the left are the six ingredient picks that the player makes.
In the middle are the ingredient tables. The tabs on top are categories.
The category of the food determines a raw stat buff - meat buffs ATK, fish buffs DEF, vegetables buff Elemental DEF and alcohol improves loot rewards.
The symbols on the middle left represent Skills - the ingredients in that row fall into one skill category. Having a certain number of ingredients from the same Skill category triggers a skill from that category - 2 green ingredients activates Green T1, 4 green ingredients activates Green T2 and so on.
Players can mix and match those ingredients to achieve the effect they want. For example:

>2 Red Meat + 4 Green Fish = ATK(S), DEF(M), T1 Red and T2 Green
>4 Red Meat + 2 Red Fish = ATK(M), DEF(S), T3 Red
>2 Red Meat + 2 Green Fish + 2 Blue Fish = ATK,DEF,EDEF(S), T1 Red, Green and Blue

It may be a bit complex for our purposes, but I think the table format is interesting - it allows for a mix of potential bonuses for crew that the cook can decide based on the needs of the upcoming mission or journey.

Here's a video of Monster Hunter Iceborne's food, by the way - it's pretty exaggerated, but damn if it doesn't look good.
I like the idea of having an actual cooking system. In one of the last threads we were touching on the idea of having different (but simple) systems for every profession. I'd like to expand on that idea in the future.

I like to use odd biomes in my games, and saltwater marshes are a good one.

You can change up the enemies from generic ones like wolves, goblins etc, to things like giant salt crabs, Giant eels, crocodiles, even hippos for stronger parties. The environment feeling alien is a good way to make things feel truly different between games

It even changes things most people take for granted as being accessible in a fantasy town, like bread. If the entire surrounding are saltwater marsh, how can they be growing wheat? They can't, unless they actively try to dry out areas. What else could they do? Well, you can get flour from cattail Rhizomes. You can grow and make rice bread. But should the players not be from the area, they might find these unpalatable, and if they want proper wheat bread, they'd have to import grain from afar, which might even be what the PCs are doing. A non local administrator has been placed in charge of the town, and his craving for proper food like bread and bacon might be what they're delivering. You can only live on frogs legs for so long before you snap, after all

For your setting though, it would work. As you said, the salinity would mean it's not frozen, and all the features I've mentioned up till now can still be used. It's possible to drive through, but they occasionally might get stuck and have to dig out a tire, or lay down some planks to get them out of a pit. The abundance of food means there's plenty of people who go it alone, so they might be sent to deliver something to someone who lives off miles into the swamp

It'd also mean they can't camp out just anywhere, since they're often knee deep in water which doesn't make for a comfortable campsite, further adding to the need to stay in the comfy, safe vehicle

Hell, it even works to add spooky lovecraft shit. Where better for deep ones to live than a town that's half in the sea anyway?
To add as well, one thing I think would be good would be they often have guides assigned to them in different areas. For example, say we use this swamp area, the courier's guild or whatever would tell them to pick up a guide. Assuming they can't carry enough food to get them through the thousands of square miles to get to the next drop site, a guy who can teach them to forage, and enhance their supplies would be invaluable.

Food running out could be a significant ticking clock alongside fuel. I imagine a guide can teach them where to go, where not to go, etc.
Going off the system >>80062759
recommends, with good meals providing buffs and lack of food causing nerfs, the choice to actually pick up the guide or not can mean they get much better food. Say we have our wiry salt marsh guide, with his selection of different spears, nets and so on. If they choose to stop for a couple hours, he could wander off, roll for a few dice and maybe the guy comes back with a few lobsters, some fish and some foraged tubers, and you guys get a delicious meal. He could come back with a trap full of live crabs, as well as a net full of crawfish, and with some spices from the vehicle you could have a crawfish boil. Should he not be too successful, he could come back with a dozen speared frogs, and you guys have to make do with frog legs mixed in with ration block noodles. He could come back with a bagful of a plant, which he could show you can be processed into a hunger suppressing stimulant (Basically meth or something), or he could come back with a pouchful of poppy seed resin you guys can use as painkillers the next time you get shot through the door because cletus got trigger happy. Or if it rolls badly, he could just not come back at all, and you guys would have next to no chance of ever finding out what happened to him. In knee high water, you're unlikely to ever find a body.

Food is a really good thing to add to a game like this, because much like real life, sometimes the only differences in days are what you have to eat. If it's been three boring days in a row, and you've had nothing but emergency protein bars and the carb noodles from your crawler's limited kitchen, your guide coming back and telling you to get the biggest pot you can because he's got a bunch of fish, scallops, mushrooms and a lobster each for dinner means you're suddenly not having such a bad day. It's relatable, and coming up with a few things your character loves and hates can really add some depth to your characters roleplay wise.

Personally I don't think there should be anything along the lines of "this recipe means you get +2 to technology repair rolls, but I think it should be abstracted a little by the GM. If they recently ate a good meal, the GM could maybe make a task a bit easier for them than should they attempt it on an empty stomach, or worse, after choking down something they hate
so long as it's an actual game system and not just "pick recipe, roll a check, confirm results on table"
I like the idea that >>80065495 has, and the food storage we have is just like, generic bland food that lasts forever, but basically doesn't provide any real benefits because it's basically eating ramen noodles and clif bars. Fresh ingredients we find, hunt or hire a guy to hunt for us would be the stuff we get bonuses from

I'd also like if we can preserve stuff we get. Say the guide catches a bunch of fish, and we don't eat all of them, we can like, salt them or freeze them to add it to our food stores. Maybe it has like some small benefit if preserved, but it's not as good as the fresh stuff. Maybe it only provides half the benefit?

Ideally then we slowly replace our ramen with hunted or foraged stuff as we travel through the world. I guess someone would have to figure out what benefits we get and then come up with stuff that can be found in each biome
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Cataclysm, DDA has a good system. Each food has an "enjoyability" rating, and recipes can be made with a variety of different ingredients, so if you make say, scrambled eggs with meat, it will be better and more enjoyable if you use fresh eggs, fresh butter and bacon, rather than powdered eggs, powdered milk and beef jerky. The latter one is still enjoyable, but it gives you like 5 enjoyability rather than 20 that fresh would get you
The same applies to every recipe, and it also helps with the flaws you can take at character creation, like being lactose intolerant or having a gluten allergy. Like with a gluten allergy, you can instead make a sandwich with rice bread, or gluten free bread. If you're lactose intolerant you can just swap out the cheese for a different ingredient. If you're vegetarian you can put like, pickled vegetables instead of ham. It's really versatile.
It would be a good thing to convert over if we work out what "enjoyability means in terms of the game, and if it provides stat boosts or something
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Saw this on /co/

I suppose you'd be glad of that middle bunk if it was cold but it seems a bit weird
I mean 8 people being carried round in that seems very cramped. I would assume really that max capacity is more 6, and the middle bed is more of a buffer zone unless you pick people up on the way. Even then, I'd sleep with my head at the other end if I were in the middle
I would cut down on the complexity so it's separated into "Fresh", "Preserves", and "Treats/Goods".
Preserves are stuff that's made to last without taking up too much space. Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, MRE's, and Jerky's. They have no modifier on Exhaustion unless a cook is able to season them better. If the crews move from standard meals to rations, all food is treated mechanically as preserves as everything has been modified to stretch for time.
"Fresh" is unmodified foods that usually expire within two weeks of gaining them. Stuff like eggs, milk, and hunted meats. They have a natural positive modifier on Exhaustion that can be modified by proper preparation from a cook.
"Treats/Goods" are foods that are used for their psychological help so the crew can find some cozy comfort in the cold. Hot Coco, honey, Alcohol, etc.. They have a positive modifier on mental exhaustion and another bonus when used with meals.

The numbers on the modifiers would need to be adjusted by someone who's able to play a game in this setting and see if any of these mechanics work.
Four to six sounds good, as that would be the usual amount of players one might find to play a game.
You can always mandate players control more than a single character. It allows them to take more meaningful risks without kicking them from the game (until next session) for character death since they have a character roster to work with instead. Then, if they still manage to fuck up enough to lose every character, share control of the hazards with them and reward their replacement characters for each remaining PC they kill. Helps if the mechanics are kept lean and reference cards are on hand.

Also, if crowding of a vehicle is a concern, let them form caravans.
Dead players could also play the role of voices on the radio, whether they be other crawler crews in the vicinity or settlement radio broadcasts.
that's part of what I meant with "share control of the hazards"

give them something to do outside of combat as well, even if it's placing tricks and traps around post-session start.
Ah, I was under the impression that you meant exclusively hazards, since you mentioned rewarding the dead player for killing the other characters.
Feels like that would create unnecessary animosity/conflict of interest; it'd probably be better to have the players be more or less on the same team. Crawlers / radio ops interacting with or helping the crew would be more conducive to that.
They're on the same team until they're out of PCs to use. Then the stakes are raised. This promotes players looking out for the living even more than they normally would too.
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I agree with the notion of keeping it simple. I think at the point where you have to think about individual diets it becomes a chore both to figure out mechanically and to play.

interesting take. I haven't really thought about how to deal with dead PCs yet. The question is, is it preferrable to replace missing crew at the next possible chance and keep playing in a campaign format, or are we thinking death spiral for everyone, which would be more of a oneshot or at least short campaign?
Okay, okay. I had another idea. It might be shit, I dunno, but hear me out.

So I've been thinking about how to deal with HP/Exhaustion/Conditions.
I don't like HP because they're so abstract that losing some gets shrugged off easily. So Exhaustion should replace them. You can gain Exhaustion in either your mental or physical tracker, and either have different effects.

With wounds or the like, it felt strange to have them running on the same tracker. If you get shot for example, however rare that occasion might be, it would be weird just to get 'exhausted' by it.

That's where I started tending towards Conditions: status effects with their own rules (could be printed on cards to keep an overview).

Next issue I had was that making a system for Conditions could be quite extensive, especially if they all have their own rules. With stuff like 'Wounded' it'd probably be easy, but how do you define clear rules for 'Paranoid' for example? You could, but writing them down might limit their narrative role.

So my newest idea is this: what if (some) Conditions don't have their own rules, but instead hold a certain amount of narrative currency the GM can use to 'trigger' them in a fitting situation. So if a player gets to meet a new NPC, the GM could 'trigger' their Paranoia to make that player mistrust them or act in a certain way. The same way, players may trigger their own Conditions in order to get rid of the currency still on that Condition.
Every instance of triggering it will produce 'used up' currency, which could in turn be used to advance something else - to enforce roleplay positively.
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For example:
>Charlie has 5 points on his 'Paranoia' Condition. He decides to trigger it by doing something risky/stupid: he hides a gun under his pillow, even though only the Security Officer on board is allowed to carry arms. If found out, this could create real problems for him.
>The GM agrees and Charlie puts 1 spent point into his reserve to use for later.
>Later in the session, the crew is being stalked by a malformed wolf creature. It is night, so it has managed to creep close enough to attack, but because of his Condition, Charlie may apply his spent point to argue that because of his jumpiness, he can react in time to get away.

Is that an interesting direction at all, or too close to systems like FATE? I feel like it could work, but I'm somewhat torn between clearly defined rules for each Condition, and narrative freedom.
perhaps the mechanic for using 'spent' points is a bit too far fetched, but I thought it might be good to have a positive reinforcement system for Conditions to keep them fun, rather than a flat -1d10 to your Psyche pool or whatever.
Perhaps Conditions like these don't even need a set amount of points on them, but as long as they apply to a player, it's a reminder for the GM to describe things slightly differently to them.
>New NPC appears
>GM describes them as someone they've never met: a friendly doctor from the town the crew has stopped in. Normal guy
>To the player with the Paranoia he adds: "You feel like you've seen his face before. But that's impossible. He says he's been working here for the last ten years, but you've never been in this place. How is that possible. In fact, the longer you look at him, the more you're sure: You know this man from somewhere. And you feel a spark of recognition in his eyes too, even though he does his best to keep it hidden."
>The question is, is it preferrable to replace missing crew at the next possible chance and keep playing in a campaign format, or are we thinking death spiral for everyone, which would be more of a oneshot or at least short campaign?
No reason you can't have play modes for both. "One Last Trip" vs "Lights in the Dark"
My thought was regarding dead PCs adding additional threats to the game. It'd already be more difficult to survive with less people. So if we're going down that road, it might become a TPK fast.
Nothing wrong with that.
I agree! Especially since it would just litter the landscape with another lost Crawler to be found by the next campaign :p
I think it should be up to GM choice - some groups may prefer a more exploration and discovery focused game that doesn't have TPKs as a regular occurrence, while others may prefer higher-lethality survival games where the snowballing deaths would fit better thematically.
I think it should be something that's available as an add-on or alternative to the base system, rather than something inherent.
This pic is weird
I have the felling it was took 1 billion years ago, where is that?
The Mayan gods are real, but their power has dwindled to the point where all they can do is guarantee people can grow cocoa and coffee in the harsh environment.
dunno, found it on /an/

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